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Employment discrimination case ends in $600,000 verdict

Sex discrimination is defined as treating someone differently because of that person's sex. Discrimination due to gender in any aspect of employment comprises a violation of California and federal laws. An employee who has been the victim of such employment discrimination will usually initiate a complaint with the EEOC, which is the federal agency that handles such claims. However, in certain situations the case may be initiated before an agency of the state.

That information is the background for the recent report of a federal jury award of about $600,000 in favor of three women in their gender discrimination lawsuit against a major nationwide restaurant. The women were all former general managers of Chipotle restaurants who were not treated as well as their male counterparts. The employment discrimination suit also alleged violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The former area manager allegedly told the women that there were "a lot of overweight women working here" and referred to them as "too emotional." One of the women was fired and replaced by a male manager despite reports that the woman had organized her store and improved it "100 percent." The third woman was allegedly terminated for taking maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act after she had twins and one of them was ill for months.

These are cases that appear to be based on fairly straightforward allegations of employment discrimination actions where a male employee was given preference in an aspect of employment. Other than the two comments mentioned above, there does not appear to be the kind of pervasive discriminatory activities that would also allow for a finding of a hostile job environment. The one woman's problems seem to have been caused by the store's flagrant neglect of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides for various periods of unpaid leave for maternity purposes. The laws applying to this out-of-state action are equally applicable to California employment law.

Source:, "Chipotle liable for discriminating against female workers", Fatima Hussein, Feb. 9, 2016

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