First published in the March 12, 2022, print issue of the Glendale News Press.
A former Porto’s Bakery Inc. employee who alleged she was wrongfully fired from the Glendale location in 2020 during her pregnancy — despite having a stellar work record that earned her praise from fellow workers and management — has dropped her lawsuit against the popular chain.
Attorney Ronald Yoosefian, on behalf of plaintiff Kimberly Flores, filed a request for dismissal of her case on Wednesday, Feb. 23, with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Wendy Chang. The two sides had agreed in November to put the case on hold and have the plaintiff’s claims decided by an arbitrator.
Flores sued last July 30, alleging pregnancy and gender discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment and a number of violations of the state Labor Code. Lawyers for Porto’s denied any wrongdoing by their client.
Flores was hired in December 2019 as a server and sales associate, and her job duties included greeting customers, boxing and bagging purchased items, assisting co-workers and performing other work required by her supervisors, the suit stated. She had no negative work evaluations, her job performance was never criticized during her employment prior to her pregnancy and many fellow employees as well as managers commended her for her work, according to her court papers.
In late February 2020, Flores said, she began bleeding at work and asked to leave to get immediate medical treatment. Her doctor issued work restrictions that disallowed her from lifting more than 10 pounds, forbade her from doing any strenuous exercise or prolonged sitting or standing and directed that she have frequent rest periods, the suit stated.
Flores told Porto’s management that she was pregnant and they in turn transferred her to their customer call center, according to the complaint.
During her pregnancy, Flores said, she became ill at work due to her pregnancy and she once again kept management informed. Although she did not have any attendance or job performance issues, management’s attitude toward her began to change, according to her suit.
“[Porto’s] management team grew weary of [Flores’] requests and began a campaign to terminate [her] employment,” the suit alleged.
Management cut Flores’ hours, changed her schedule to times they knew she could not work and refused to provide her with meal and rest breaks, then fired her in April 2020, the suit alleged.
Flores believed she was discriminated against and wrongfully terminated because of her pregnancy, gender, medical condition and requests for accommodations, according to her court papers. She also alleged she was denied overtime pay.
–City News Service