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Employment Discrimination Blog

Friday, May 29, 2020

What Is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

There is no room for discrimination in the workplace. People should not live in fear that acts of discrimination will jeopardize their job opportunities or opportunities at a current job. That is why federal laws are in place that provide protections for workers from discriminatory acts when it comes to aspects of employment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects many different classes from being discriminated against when it comes to matters of employment. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII to include a prohibition on discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or an associated medical condition.

What is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits acts of discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or an associated medical condition in any aspect of employment. That includes:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Salary/Pay
  • Job assignment
  • Promotions and demotions
  • Job training
  • Paid leave
  • Health insurance

Should pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition prevent a woman from being temporarily unable to perform job duties, her employer has an obligation to treat her the same ways as any other temporarily disabled employee would be treated. This means accommodations that would be offered and available to other temporarily disabled employees should be offered. This may include the employer providing:

  • Light duty
  • Disability leave
  • Unpaid leave

Should the employee go on leave due to pregnancy, childbirth, or an associated medical condition, the employer is required to keep her job open for the same length of time that it would be kept open for employees who go on disability leave or sick leave.

The PDA also protects women from being harassed due to pregnancy, childbirth, or an associated medical condition. Anyone in the workplace may be held responsible for harassment. This means that supervisors or co-workers may be the perpetrators of illegal harassment. It also means that a person who is not in the employee of the same employer, such as a client, may be the perpetrator. Harassment becomes illegal when it rises to the point where the work environment becomes hostile. Harassment also becomes illegal should it result in an adverse employment action, such as the victim of harassment being terminated from employment.

Not only is it illegal to discriminate against a person in an employment setting because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition, but it is also prohibited to retaliate against a person who opposes such discriminatory practices in the workplace. A person is protected from retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination. Those who choose to testify in a discrimination case or participating in an investigation are also protected. These are protections granted under Title VII and the PDA.

Employment Discrimination Attorneys

Despite the protections put in place by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, thousands of complaints are filed due to allegations of pregnancy discrimination. Many women still fear being looked over for promotion or losing their job when they tell their employer they are pregnant. This should not be the way of things. If you suspect you have been discriminated against in the workplace due to being pregnant or having a related medical condition, talk to the dedicated team of discrimination attorneys at Pankey & Horlock. We are here to fight to enforce your legal rights. Contact us today.


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