Employment Discrimination Blog

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Pregnancy Discrimination in Georgia

Can my employer fire me for being pregnant?

Being pregnant in the workplace can be an unfortunately intimidating time.  Federal law protects pregnant employees from discrimination in the workplace, but nonetheless many pregnant women still report being bullied and fired due to their pregnant status. With about 75 percent of the 72 million women workers in the workforce eventually becoming pregnant, according to the latest Pew Research, pregnancy discrimination is a major national issue.  

Laws Against Pregnancy Discrimination 

Recognizing the need to protect pregnant women in the workforce, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in 1978.  The PDA will apply to all employers nationwide with 15 or more employees.  Georgia state law provides additional protections for state employees and those in small office settings.  Per the PDA and state laws, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of pregnancy, including any pregnancy related complications.  Acts of discrimination could include firing, failing to promote, refusing to hire, or reassigning an employee based on her pregnant status.

Despite this strong law in place prohibiting pregnancy discrimination, a recent report found that instances of pregnancy discrimination are on the rise.  This makes it important for pregnant employees to know and understand their legal rights.  As a pregnant employee, it is reasonable that you may need to seek leave or an accommodation.  You should make this request in writing and explain clearly your need for leave or an accommodation.  Accompany the request with medical documentation.  

If you are pregnant and feel that your employer has discriminated against you due to your condition, then you will need to take action.  You can file a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  You will need to consult with an employment discrimination lawyer as soon as possible because you have a limited time within which to take action.  

Victims of pregnancy discrimination could potentially receive back pay, promotion, reinstatement, and hiring to remedy the wrongful action.  Victims can also seek compensatory damages for their emotional pain and suffering and potentially even punitive damages to punish the wrongdoing employer.  Your attorney could also receive compensation for their fees as well as any expert witness fees or court costs.

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