Committee and Arnold & Porter Win $550K Jury Verdict for Fired Restaurant Worker in Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Against Chipotle

A Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant worker who was fired for taking leave to attend a prenatal appointment won a $550,000 jury verdict in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The verdict was rendered this afternoon following a four-day trial.

After three hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict of $50,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages against Chipotle, in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

In May 2011, Doris Garcia Hernandez began working at Chipotle Mexican Grill on M Street in Washington, DC. Ms. Garcia received positive employment reviews for her work, until she informed her supervisor of her pregnancy in late October 2011. She claimed that upon learning of her pregnancy, her supervisor changed his attitude towards her and instituted a new policy that forbade employees from using the bathroom and drinking water.

“This is an important victory for working women. No woman should be forced to choose between a prenatal appointment and her job,” said Washington Lawyers’ Committee Executive Director Jonathan Smith. “We are grateful to the jury for vindicating the rights of our client to be free from pregnancy discrimination and to send a message to other employers that this practice is intolerable.”

This case had already won the support of Washington, D.C. residents. After reading about the complaint, the D.C. Council passed the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, to ensure that D.C. employees like Ms. Garcia are guaranteed pregnancy accommodations at work.

The Plaintiff was represented by Washington Lawyers’ Committee Attorneys Christine Tschiderer and Dennis Corkery and by Peter T. Grossi, a partner at the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

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Da'aga Hill Bowman
daaga_bowman@washlaw.org, (202) 319-1000
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