December 17, 2012
Kupros' owner denies firing pregnant employee


Note: This post has been updated with comments from the former Kupros employee

For followers of Sacramento's restaurant scene, Facebook was abuzz this morning from posts on the page for Kupros Bistro with a serious accusation. The post came from Kupros Bistro itself, saying: "To all those I had the pleasure to meet in the last 2 and a half years: Steve, the owner no longer feels it is appropriate to have a (woman) expecting to work in his establishment so he has let me go. I wish all you wonderful regulars the best and will miss you:)"

Discriminating against a pregnant employee violates the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The employee in question is a now former bar manager at Kupros and also helped book bands to play at the bistro.

However, Kupros owner Stephen Tokuhama called in with his side of the story. He said the employee wasn't fired, but rather quit this morning on her own volition.

"I gave her a day schedule she did not want," said Tokuhama. "She quit, and I have witnesses who can verify that."

Tokuhama said there was a previous understanding with the employee, who's in her third trimester of pregnancy, to transition to a day shift following her 10-day honeymoon.

"I said we have to execute the plan we agreed on, because I said in the third trimester it's dangerous to be here at night," said Tokuhama. "This is a two story restaurant with a heavy bar atmosphere. What I said I can offer you is a day schedule but obviously she didn't want it because you don't make as much during the day."

Update: Got a call from Shawna Arrington, the former Kupros employee who admitted posting the messages under Kupros' Facebook account and calling out her former boss. Her access to that page has since been disabled.

Arrington, who was promoted to a manger six months ago, has since reached out to an attorney and mulling possible legal action.

"I came in for a manager's meeting and was told I could take a huge pay cut or leave," said Arrington. "Before I could respond, he started screaming, 'Leave now!' I was going to be leaving for maternity leave anyways, which we'd agreed to a long time ago. (When I was leaving), I heard him say, 'Thank God, a pregnant woman behind the bar is ridiculous."

Update: Beau Bouchard, a Kupros manager who was there at this morning's meeting, denied that any comment was made that, "a pregnant woman behind the bar is ridiculous."

We'll keep you posted of any further developments.

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