Final score: Pregnant bartender 45,000 - Wild Beaver Saloon 0

August 19, 2011
By Eric B. Meyer on August 19, 2011 7:00 AM | | Comments

I can pinpoint the exact moment that this blog transcended to the next level of internet excellence.

beaver.jpg

It was back in late March, when I blogged here about a female bartender/server who had sued her employer, the Wild Beaver Saloon, for pregnancy discrimination. The retweets that day were off the heezy fo sheezy, yo. (The hyperlink is a courtesy to my NPR listeners).

***Wait. Hold on one sec. I have to take this call from "1993". They say they want their dated hip-hop lingo back. OK, I'm back.***

When I first wrote about the Wild Beaver Saloon, the question was whether a business could make an employment decision based on the preferences of co-workers, the employer, clients or customers. I concluded, in this instance, that the Beave could not get away with it.

Well, the case ended last week. So was I right? Click past the jump to find out if I know my stuff...

* * *

But first, see what you are missing by reading this post...

Originally, I had planned to devote today's post to a discussion of a recent Fourth Circuit wage and hour case which held that job applicants have no standing to raise retaliation claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act. But that's old news. You can read that decision here. And you can read what my fellow labor-and-employment-law blogging buddies have to say about it here, here, here, and here.

And then, news hit yesterday that the National Labor Relations Board's Acting General Counsel released a report detailing the outcome of investigations into 14 cases involving the use of social media and employers' social and general media policies. That's definitely a hot area and worthy of a blog post. I'll give you my thoughts on the report on Monday. Until then, you can read the NLRB's press release here, the report here, and some good insight from Seth Borden at Labor Relations Today here.

But back to wild beaver and, yes, I know my stuff...

Well, at least I can't be proven wrong, yet. That is, last week, the Wild Beaver Saloon entered into this Consent Decree with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to resolve the pending litigation. Under the decree, the bar must fork over $45K to the pregnant bartender and is further enjoined from discriminating against any other pregnant employees. 

The bar must also post a Notice of Non-Discrimination Policy in a conspicuous place on its premises, and provide anti-harassment training to all of its managers and supervisors. Holla at ya boy. I'm available! ***Oh wait, I think I hear "2005" calling*** The bar must also provide periodic written reports to the EEOC to confirm compliance with the Consent Decree.

Yet, the law remains unclear.

That is, the Consent Decree does not include any finding or admission of liability. And the court did not otherwise rule that the Wild Beaver Saloon broke the law. 

In all likelihood, the Wild Beaver Saloon made a business decision and bit the bullet on this one. Given the lack of case law in this area, methinks that many other businesses have also chosen the same settlement option.