Employment Discrimination Blog

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Can I sue my employer for pregnancy discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination is unfortunately a common reality for female employees across the nation.   Roughly 75 percent of the over 72 million women in the workforce will become pregnant at some point.  Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in 1978 in an effort to eliminate discrimination based on pregnancy in the workplace. While the Act has deterred some abhorrent practices, pregnancy discrimination continues and a number of lawsuits based on this form of discrimination are filed each year.  

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of pregnancy and childbirth, including complications related to pregnancy. If you are a pregnant employee, it is critical that you understand your rights so that you can protect yourself.  

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act will apply to any employer with 15 or more employees.  Employees of smaller firms may still be protected under state law.  Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, which could include:

  1. Refusing to hire;
  2. Firing;
  3. Reassigning; or
  4. Failing to promote.

Your employer must allow you to continue to work as long as you are able if you are pregnant.  At the time at which you need to take leave, your employer must hold your job open for the same amount of time that the employer would leave a position open for any other employee who is on leave due to an illness or disability.  

Take Action if You Experience Discrimination

If you believe you have been discriminated against due to your pregnancy or a related condition, you should take action.  You have the right to file a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but you have a limited time within which to bring the claim. You should consult with an attorney for assistance with bringing your discrimination claim.  Your lawyer will help you with compiling the necessary records to advance your claim.  Remember, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a discrimination claim.  Protect yourself and your family from unlawful discrimination by contacting an employment law attorney today.


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