Vancouver pub fined $9,500 for firing pregnant server

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A former server at a Vancouver pub has been awarded compensation for losing her employment when she was six months pregnant.

Stephanie Lipp had worked at Mavericks Sports Lounge in Mount Pleasant from October 2012 to May 2013, according to legal documents [.pdf]. In March 2013, Mavericks was bought by Michael O’Connell, who in turn brought in a former manager familiar with Lipp, who attested Lipp was “an asset to the company.”

However, when O’Connell learned Lipp was pregnant, he ordered her hours reduced, because he felt a visibly expecting server was bad for the bar’s image. Though many on staff experienced shift cutbacks when O’Connell took over, Lipp saw the most drastic reduction in hours–she went from four shifts a week to one.

Lipp learned that O’Connell had expressly stated he was hoping by reducing her hours she would leave her job at the pub. She decided to take her claim to the labour board.

As a result of the investigation and legal proceedings, the BC Human Rights Tribunal determined Lipp had been the victim of workplace discrimination due to her pregnancy. O’Connell was ordered to pay Lipp $2,000 in compensation for lost wages and $7,500 in compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.

Lipp is not the only Mavericks employee who has filed complaint against O’Connell. In August of 2013 20 workers filed complaints alleging “unpaid shifts, overtime and vacation pay, pay rates below the minimum wage, excessive hours, disrespectful treatment, and human rights abuses,” according to Metro.

One of those employees called his work at Mavericks under O’Connell’s ownership “modern slavery.”

In early 2014, Mavericks was re-launched as the Locker Room Pub under new management. Lipp is the mother of a 13-month-old son, Mason.

 

Featured image: Pregnant woman’s belly/Shutterstock

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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