The Case of the Pregnant Bartender

Piña Colada Bartender


Discrimination is all too common for pregnant women. Sometimes, the discrimination is overt, and an employer will attempt to fire a pregnant woman. There are laws against this, of course. Not only that, it’s simply unethical business.

Sometimes, however, that discrimination isn’t quite so clear-cut. A good example of this is a pregnant bartender in Arizona. Keli Kozup became pregnant in 2008, and it put her job as a bartender into a tailspin.

Kozup was 24 at the time, and worked at a restaurant known as “Sandbar Mexican Grill” in Peoria, AZ. As her pregnancy advanced and football season started, Kozup was informed that pregnant girls weren’t allowed to work on Sunday. As it turns out, three of their wait and bar staff were pregnant, at the time. None of them were placed on the Sunday Schedule.

Kozup had relied on those Sunday shifts, and it was consistently the biggest tipping day of the week.

When she confronted her bosses, she was informed that patrons didn’t want to look at pregnant women while they watched football on Sundays.

Standing up to discrimination

Kozup was able to file a complained against the owners of the establishment with the EEOC. Arizona awarded her $15,000 in the discrimination suit.

Still, the restaurant continued to deny any wrongdoing, claiming that they settled the matter only because it was costing them a significant amount of money to fight the claims.

The restaurant agreed to have training on discrimination at the restaurant, however.

Understanding pregnancy laws

There are a number of workplace regulations that protect pregnant women, including:

  • Discrimination in hiring
  • Difference in pay
  • Firing of a pregnant woman
  • Job assignments based on pregnancy
  • Promotions based on pregnancy or non-pregnancy
  • Layoffs due to pregnancy
  • Fewer benefits to pregnant women
  • Any terms or conditions of employment.

In addition, laws indicate that if a pregnant woman can’t work due to a pregnancy-related condition, it must be treated in the same way as any other type of medical leave.

So, what about you? Have you heard of any cases like this? Have you felt discriminated against yourself while you were pregnant?

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