SAN DIEGO – Ralphs Grocery Company, a national chain of retail grocery stores, has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged Ralphs with subjecting a female courtesy clerk to discrimination based on pregnancy while she was employed at a store in the Point Loma area of San Diego. The EEOC said the store denied the employee’s request for a schedule change as an accommodation for her pregnancy. As a result of the ongoing discrimination, the female clerk was forced to quit, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (Case No.: 3:20-cv-01802-WQH-MDD) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, the two-year consent to settlement, which remains under the court’s jurisdiction during the term of the agreement, includes injunctive relief aimed at preventing further workplace pregnancy discrimination. Ralphs has agreed to review and revise its policies and procedures on discrimination and provide training to employees and managers on federal anti-discrimination laws, with an emphasis on pregnancy discrimination and handling employees’ accommodation requests for pregnancy-related medical conditions. Finally, Ralphs will maintain all necessary records to demonstrate its compliance with this settlement.
“The EEOC applauds Ralphs for agreeing to meaningful measures to protect pregnant employees in the workplace,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County. “Front line managers and supervisors must be educated on their obligation to properly handle accommodation requests for pregnancy-related medical conditions.”
Patricia Kane, acting director of the EEOC’s San Diego’s local office, said, “With the proper policies and procedures in place, employers can reasonably accommodate a pregnant employee. Employers should take stock and review their policies and practices to ensure they are compliant with federal law.”
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.