A Jury Ruled That Chipotle Discriminated Against a Pregnant Employee

August 9, 2016, 7:42 PM UTC
Chipotle Closes Over 40 Restaurants In Portland Area Over E. Coli Outbreak
PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 03: A general view of a Chipotle Mexican Grill store sign outside a location in downtown Portland on November 3, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. Chipotle Mexican Grill is temporarily closing more than 40 restaurants in and around Washignton and Oregon, as health officials investigate an E. coli outbreak that has gotten at least 22 people sick. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

This story has been updated to reflect a response from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee.

A former Chipotle employee was reportedly awarded $550,000 in damages after a jury concluded that her former manager fired her because she was pregnant.

Doris Garcia Hernandez informed her manager, known in the lawsuit only as “David,” that she was pregnant in 2011. “Upon learning of her pregnancy,” the lawsuit stated, “David told Ms. Garcia that she had to announce to every employee in the store when she was going to the bathroom and that David would have to approve her bathroom breaks so that he could cover her work position for her.”

The complaint went on to say that the restrictions were not imposed on her non-pregnant coworkers. Garcia said she was eventually fired after her manager rejected her request to leave early for a doctor’s appointment and she did so anyway.

“We are extremely pleased with the results,” Christine Tschiderer of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, which helped file the case in 2014, told Fortune. “No woman should be required to choose between a paycheck and going to a prenatal doctor’s appointment.” She added that this is an especially important victory for low-wage workers, particularly immigrants, who tend to have little autonomy in the workplace. This lawsuit even went on to inspire the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014, requiring employers in D.C. to provide “reasonable accommodations” like longer breaks or stools to sit on.

“In the case of Ms. Hernandez, we maintain that Chipotle’s actions were legal and appropriate, but we are moving on from this issue. We accept the court’s decision and have no plans to appeal,” a spokesperson for Chipotle told Fortune. “More generally speaking, we are a company that works hard to provide a safe, comfortable and rewarding workplace.”

Lauren Lindon filed a similar lawsuit against Chipotle (CMG) claiming that she had been wrongfully terminated because she was pregnant. The New York Post writes that she was awarded close to $110,000 in July 2013.


There have been several additional cases this year in which female employees at Chipotle claimed they had been discriminated against because of their gender. Three former general managers of three different Cincinnati locations were awarded a reported $600,000, and seven female employees in Ohio settled their cases.

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