EEOC files suit against Shipley Do-nuts in Katy

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

KATY, Texas - The EEOC has filed a civil lawsuit against the independently owned Shipley Do-nuts on Mason Road after a cashier says the owner fired her a day after she refused to tell the owner if she was pregnant and refused to get a doctor's note saying she was cleared to work.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court for the Southern District of Texas, alleges Sharon Sicinski Davis discriminated against Brooke S. Foley, which is against the law.

"Employers cannot go to the employee and say, ‘I've heard you are pregnant,' or ‘I know you are pregnant. You have to give me a work release that says you can continue to work in my workplace.' That is illegal," Connie Wilhite, Senior Trial Attorney for the EEOC's Houston office, said.

The EEOC's suit alleges the owner confronted Foley based on informal reports by other employees that Foley was pregnant. Foley refused to say if she was pregnant.

"At that point, the owner took Foley off the schedule and told (her) she could not return to work… until she provided a doctor's note allowing her to work and assuring Shipley's she did not have a ‘high risk' pregnancy," Wilhite said.

The lawsuit says Foley's mother tried to intervene, but that didn't change the situation.

"Foley was fired by a supervisor over the phone alleging she failed to report to work," Wilhite said. "An employer who forces leave on a pregnant employee violates federal law."

Davis told investigative reporter Jace Larson that she has done nothing wrong. During a brief phone conversation, she said she's had many pregnant women working for her before who have chosen to come back after having a baby.

Davis owns at least two other Shipley Do-nuts locations: 3811 North Fry Road in Katy and 20077 Katy Freeway in Katy.

A judge set a court hearing in this case for March 23.

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