Following the news this morning that a former employee is suing the Doughnut Plant for allegedly demoting her while she was pregnant, then firing her after she went on maternity leave, a representative for the company reached out to Eater to respond to the allegations. Jeff Magness, Doughnut Plant's creative director, says this is actually not the first time Mekhela Sofsky has made such claims against her former employer. She apparently filed a very similar complaint with the Division of Human Rights back in April of 2013, but with, according to Magness, "one big difference." Back then, he says, she didn't claim she was fired, whereas now she says she was.
In any case, Magness maintains that she "was never fired, she just never came back" after taking her maternity leave. He also says that she was given full benefits during that time, and that Doughnut Plant tried unsuccessfully to contact her many times once her leave was up. They were surprised by the initial claim last year, and when they filed a response, it was withdrawn.
He also adds that Sofsky had long been friends with Chief Operating Officer KC Salazar and owner Mark Israel, and was "like family" to them, and that "there was a lot done to take care of her" while she was pregnant. "We do take care of this kind of thing," Magness says, "We don't mistreat people. We have four women working for us who have had children. We give maternity leave, and they come back to their jobs. We give paternity leave too. We take care of that stuff."
Why would Sofsky file this suit then? "Clearly she felt betrayed," he says. It is true that she was demoted, as the lawsuit claims, but that was "for real reasons, not because she was pregnant."