EEOC: Local bar fired worker over pregnancy

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the owner of a Broad Ripple bar, charging that it terminated a female employee because of her pregnancy.

The complaint against WBS Broad Ripple Inc., which does business as Wild Beaver Saloon, was filed by the EEOC on behalf of Heather Gibson, a former bartender and server. Her alleged firing due to a pregnancy violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the lawsuit asserts.

The suit also charges that the bar owner failed to post certain provisions of the act at the workplace, another violation of federal law.

EEOC filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court in Indianapolis on March 16. It is asking the court to grant a permanent injunction prohibiting the bar owner from terminating an employee because of her gender and pregnancy, or any other discrimination based on gender.

The complaint also requests that the bar owner institute policies and programs that provide equal employment opportunities for women.

In addition, it wants the bar owner to compensate Gibson for back pay and any future financial losses resulting from the termination, as well as punitive damages for its “malicious and reckless conduct,” to be determined at trial.

“Employees who become pregnant should not lose their jobs because of their condition,” said Laurie A. Young, regional attorney of the EEOC's Indianapolis District Office, in a prepared statement issued Monday. "The Commission will vigorously prosecute employers who engage in pregnancy discrimination or other forms of sex discrimination.”

The Wild Beaver Saloon in Broad Ripple is located at 723 Broad Ripple Ave. Another Wild Beaver is located in downtown Indianapolis at 20 E. Maryland St. The Indianapolis-based chain also has locations in Nashville, Tenn., and Lansing, Mich.

A phone call placed to the bar was not answered and an e-mail sent to company co-owner Richard Payne was not returned Tuesday afternoon.



  • EEOC Information
    Rev. Michael Marine - The information at this web page should give you some options for what to do. - http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/howtofile.cfm
  • More Information is need before Judgement.
    I am mother to a wonderful child and as much as I agree with the law for not firing a pregnant woman. I am also smart enough to realize that anyone can claim that this is the reason for termination. For instance she could have been lets say late to work, not following rules and just because the law is in her favor, no one can fire her? This might not be the case, although all I know is a lot of people are trying to take advantage of lawsuits, mainly because its free to try and it only costs them if they win. The company I work for got sued by a woman for not getting pleasured by her husband, because he hurt his leg and they won. Its ridiculous, I wish we lived in a world where people who deserve to win lawsuits win and no one lies just to make a quick dollar. The saddest part is some of these "fake" lawsuits ruin good company's and in turn make other people loss their jobs.
  • Dan is wrong . . .
    Dan is wrong if he thinks this proves people don't need unions. I work for a federal agency that protects workers rights. Our agencies are totally understaffed to address more than a handful of the violations of labor and employment laws that take place all the time in this country. Don't ever give up your rights to collective bargaining and collective self defense in the workplace. There's no substitute for a union organization based right in the workplace.
  • Think about it
    Shelly -- If you think about it, this is further proof that unions are unnecessary. First, she's protected by Federal law. Second, she's got an EEOC lawyer who is an expert in her type of case. Third, that lawyer is a Federal Government employee, so she doesn't have to pay attorney fees or court costs. Finally, if she proves her case, she's will not only recover back pay and interest, she could win money damages. All without paying a penny in union dues!
    • other reason
      like not wanting to have to pay for health insurance to cover her hospital stay for the delivery of her baby? guess who is going to pay for that now?
    • Proof
      One question...how can she prove it was because of her pregnancy and not something else that could be a legitimate reason for the firing.
      • Firing for Going to Funeral
        Joe & Thomas,

        The law would allow an employer to fire an employee who went to a funeral. The law doesn't allow someone to be fired for a medical condition though like pregnancy
      • Call me crazy, but...
        If you're pregnant, maybe you shouldn't be working in a smoke filled bar.

        It's probably not good for your baby...
      • What to do
        my friend was also fired from a bar after his father passed away and had to attend a funeral, what do you do about this.
      • Discrimination
        My wife was terminated after the company she works for found out she was expecting! The company is called Cornerstone Associates. They provide home health care and such to persons needing services. I feel this is very wrong and wonder what to do.
        • Jobs
          And they wont to get rid of unions. lol
          • discrimination
            She will win.
          • discrimination
            Hope she gets all that she can,
          • Nightclubs
            TRY working at the metro nightclub on mass ave. that wonderful owner fired some there after his mom died, because he had to go and attend her funeral.
          • Discrimination
            I was a school teacher in NY and expecting my first child in 1958, before the law went into effect. Three weeks before the end of the school term, and well before I was due to deliver, my employment was terminated. I hope this woman's case prevails. Let's not go backwards!

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