$22,000 settlement reached after Blaine pet store employee was fired for being pregnant

Four Paws and Tail in Blaine, owned by the company Pet Ranch, must pay a former employee about $22,000 after state investigators found she was fired for being pregnant.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) says Hannah Grell was fired within an hour of telling her general manager she was pregnant in Sept. 2022.

Investigators say that Grell was hired by Pet Ranch’s owner for a sales associate position and the general manager had just given her a uniform along with a shift schedule.

It was during this exchange with the general manager that Grell said she was pregnant.

MDHR authorities say about an hour later, Grell got a voicemail from the owner saying her employment was terminated. A subsequent text message from the general manager said the company “decided to go another route” according to the news release.

An MDHR official described the incident as “blatant pregnancy discrimination” and a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Grell shared the following prepared statement:

“Filing this case with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights was immensely important to me. It means that in the future, if another woman is put through this, they might not be scared to stand up for themselves and their rights.”

Hannah Grell

MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero shared a written statement that partially read “What should have been a happy start to a new job changed quickly because of discrimination.”

The settlement reached requires the company to prevent future unlawful discrimination by enforcing anti-discrimination policies and training employees on how to “create inclusive workplaces” according to the MDHR. State officials add they’ll also monitor the company’s compliance with the settlement agreement for three years.

Anyone who believes they were discriminated against because of their pregnancy is encouraged to contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights through an online form.

Pregnancy discrimination has been illegal in Minnesota since 1977. However, this is the second settlement reached within as many months involving a business that wrongfully terminated a woman due to pregnancy.

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5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Four Paws and a Tail as well as Pet Ranch for a response and will update this story if and when it is received.