Employment Case Alert - Govori v. Goat Fifty: Court’s Decision Sides With Wanna be Moms

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Infertility may be a “gender neutral” condition (affecting both men and women), but firing a female employee for undergoing a surgical implantation precedure is “gender specific,” so the employer may be liable for gender bias. That is what a federal court in New York recently ruled when it denied an employer’s motion to dismiss, finding its former employee had stated a cognizable claim for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964, because only women undergo this surgical procedure.

Elira Govori was a server at Nelson Blue Bar and Grill, owned and operated by Goat Fifty in the South Street Seaport District of New York City. She openly discussed with her supervisors her hopes of becoming a mother and, subsequently, her plans to undergo in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) treatments. The day after she announced she was moving from the diagnostic phase of IVF to the treatment stage (for which she would need to miss time from work), she was fired. Govori filed an action against Goat Fifty, alleging its termination of her employment was discriminatory and thus violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (“PDA”)) and certain state anti-discrimination laws.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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