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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    Contact:   Mary Jo O'Neill, Regional Attorney

April 2, 2009                                                                                  Phone:  (602) 640-5044


                                                                                                      David Lopez, Supervisory Attorney

                                                                                                      Phone:  (602) 640-5016    


                                                                                                      Meenoo Chahbazi, Trial Attorney

                                                                                                      Phone:  (602) 640-5061

                                                                                                      TTY:   (602) 640-5072



Tepanyaki Steakhouse Fired Pregnant Server Immediately

Upon Discovering Her Condition, Federal Agency Charges


SALT LAKE CITY - A Clearfield, Utah Japanese restaurant violated federal law by firing a server because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.   


According to the EEOC's suit against Tepanyaki of Clearfield L.L.C. (Case No. 1:09-cv-43 TS in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah), Alison Woodbury was hired by Tepanyaki Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in approximately February, 2007.  During her initial training, Defendant Tepanaki discovered that she was pregnant and immediately terminated her employment. 


Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy or sexual harassment) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation.  The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. 


The agency's suit seeks monetary relief from Tepanyaki, including back pay with prejudgment interest, and compensatory and punitive damages.  The EEOC is also seeking an injunction prohibiting future discrimination by Tepanyaki and any other relief necessary to prevent it from engaging in any further discriminatory practices.            


            "Terminating or refusing to hire someone due to her pregnancy is sex discrimination and is plainly and simply illegal," said Chester V. Bailey, district director of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, which also serves the state of Utah.


Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney at the EEOC's Phoenix District Office, said, "Tepanyaki took away Ms. Woodbury's means of helping to support­ her family when it found out she was expecting a child.  This is another example of the alarming increase in the number of pregnancy charges that this agency has seen in recent years."


The EEOC estimates that pregnancy discrimination charges have increased by 33 percent nationwide in the last three years. 


The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation's laws prohibiting employment dis­crim­ination based on race, color, gender (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), religion, national origin, age, disability and retaliation.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at


#  #  #

Patricia McMahon
Program Analyst
EEOC - Denver Field Office
(303) 866-1344

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