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A pregnant woman was fired from her bartending gig after her former boss allegedly reprimanded her for not dressing more like a "California hooker."
According to City News Service, Los Angeles resident Amanda Lambert filed suit against The King's Head Pub II, accusing her employer of pregnancy discrimination, wrongful termination, and intentional inflection of emotional distress after her "conservative" look got her fired.
What kind of case does the former employee have against the pub?
Federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only prevents discrimination by private employers on the basis of sex, but it has been amended to include pregnancy discrimination as equivalent to illegal gender discrimination.
California law extends even further than federal protections for pregnant employees, preventing even discrimination based on perceived pregnancy in employment.
According to CBS Los Angeles, Lambert's suit claims that management informed her that the King's Head owners didn't like her after she'd announced her pregnancy in June 2012. One month later, Lambert's manager sent her a text message doubting her future with the pub and explaining that she'd be a better server if it weren't for Lambert's notice that she "can't overdo carrying trays and food."
Employers may want to try to use more common sense than King's Head in avoiding pregnancy discrimination. For example, employers should provide pregnant employees reasonable accommodations for their physical conditions without retaliation or reprisal.
The other discrimination claim in Lambert's suit deals with her method of workplace attire, a slightly more conservative form of dress than King's Head owners preferred.
Most business would prefer to institute a less casual dress code to avoid problems of sexual harassment over a woman's sartorial choices, but that wasn't the case here.
According to City News Service, Lambert's suit declares she was denied "the right to wear pants." If this is true, it may violate Title VII as a form of sex-stereotyping, although many dress codes with gender-specific dress codes have been upheld.
Businesses should strive to create dress codes which present their employees as personable and professional regardless of gender, and employers should never lament that an employee doesn't dress more like a hooker.
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