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Legal to Fire Pregnant Waitress From Strip Club?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 09, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Can you fire a pregnant waitress? Or any other pregnant employee?

Josie Muriel says you can't, which is why she is suing Larry Flynt's New York Hustler Club for sex and gender discrimination. She says she was demoted and then fired after management learned of her pregnancy when she began to show.

She further alleges that management told her that her "condition" was a liability to the club.

That liability probably relates to the skimpy outfits worn by waitresses at the club. Josie Muriel would not be able to wear the more revealing uniform as she grew. It's also possible that the strip club's patrons would be turned off by a pregnant waitress.

However, federal law prohibits pregnancy discrimination. In fact, pregnancy is treated as a disability if it impedes a woman's ability to perform her job. Therefore, pregnant employees are entitled to the same rights afforded to disabled employees.

In other words, Josie Muriel was probably entitled to some sort of reasonable accommodation -- not a pink slip.

The accommodation could have come in the form of less revealing clothing. Management could have worked with her to find alternative yet comparable responsibilities. Options besides demotion and termination existed.

Employers legally must work with their pregnant employees to find reasonable alternatives so that they can continue work. If no such alternatives exist, termination may be an option. But generally speaking, you can't fire a pregnant waitress simply because she is pregnant -- or because her pregnancy has left her temporarily disabled.

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