Firing Or Discriminating Against A Pregnant Employee
There are many examples of blatant pregnancy discrimination, such as when a manager fires a pregnant employee because he doesnt think she will be able to do her job. But there are also less flagrant examples. Although an employer may have good intentions, such as being concerned about a pregnant employees safety on the job, its still illegal to discriminate against or fire a pregnant employee due to concerns for her health. For example, even if a job necessitates lifting heavy objects or being around toxic chemicals, the safety of the employee and her fetus is ultimately up to her and her physician, not her boss or employer.
Potential Damages For Pregnancy Discrimination Claims
If your lawsuit is successful, you may ask to be reinstated to your former job. Because of the hostility that may have built up, most people do not opt to request to be reinstated and instead ask for monetary damages to compensate them. These monetary damages may include the following:
- Back pay and lost benefits
- Out-of-pocket expenses that were caused by being
- wrongfully terminated
- Court costs and attorney fees
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages for intentional or egregious cases
Federal law does not have a cap on the amounts of damages you might recover, but Pennsylvania does. The maximum amount you might receive will range from $50,000 to $300,000 for state claims, depending on your employers size. Pennsylvania law also does not allow an award of punitive damages. One exception to the damages cap in the state is that Pennsylvania does not cap damages for emotional harms and out-of-pocket losses.
How Do You Prove Employment Discrimination
There are multiple ways to prove employment discrimination. Each case has its unique circumstances and requires its own strategy. Employee rights lawyers will often use varying types of documentation that verify the events and circumstances, which may include witness statements as well as detailed information, including dates, times, what occurred, what was said, and related physical and digital evidence.
Documentation and circumstantial evidence may include:
- Employee reviews, pay stubs, and schedules
- Copies of derogatory/offensive communications such as emails, texts, memos, voice mails, and pictures
Read Also: Is Juvederm Safe While Pregnant
How Long Do I Have To File My Discrimination Claim
The statute of limitations for pregnancy discrimination is incredibly short, with the pre-filing to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission required within 180 to 300 days of the discrimination, depending on the state. Once the claim is approved by the EEOC, another short window of time is granted for the suit to be filed in court.
This time crunch can be difficult for many women, especially when they lose their jobs due to discrimination early in pregnancy. The required filing dates often coincide with the birth of the child, or during the first few months of life.
It is vital you discuss any potential discrimination lawsuit claims with a knowledgeable employment lawyer right away. They will help you determine what your legal options are, whether you can file suite, qualify for recovery, and explain what rights and protections you have.
Fired For Being Pregnant In Pennsylvania
Women who are fired for being pregnant in Pennsylvania may have sufficient grounds to file wrongful termination claims against their employers. Both federal and state law protects pregnant workers. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may advise you about the rights that you might have in a pregnancy discrimination claim.
Don’t Miss: What Days To Get Pregnant After Period
What If A Pregnant Employee Needs Accommodations What Rights Does She Have At Work
Employees who are temporarily unable to perform their jobs due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions must be treated the same for all employment-related purposes as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work. For instance, if the agency assigns light duty work to some employees who are temporarily unable to perform their duties because of medical conditions, then pregnant employees who are temporarily unable to perform their duties must be given light duty assignments if denying light duty imposes a significant burden on pregnant employees and the agency does not have sufficiently strong reasons to justify the burden.
Federal employees with pregnancy-related medical conditions may also find protection under the Rehabilitation Act,2 which affords reasonable accommodations and protection from adverse employment actions based on disability to qualified individuals with disabilities.
Under the Rehabilitation Act, pregnancy itself is not considered a disability. However, a physical or mental impairment that occurs as a result of or during the course of pregnancy or childbirth may be a disability under the law if it substantially limits a major life activity.
If an employee has been absent from work as a result of a pregnancy-related condition and recovers, the agency may not require the employee to remain on leave until she has given birth.
Do I Have A Valid Pregnancy Discrimination Claim
Becoming pregnant with a child is a miracle of nature, though unfortunately, many employers do not treat it as such, to say the least. Many women are actually discriminated against because of their pregnancy, and if you believe your employer discriminated against you solely because you are pregnant, you should contact a knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination attorney here at Ben Barrett Law today. Here are some of the questions you may have:
Read Also: How Do You If Your Pregnant
How Do You Prove Pregnancy Discrimination
In order to prove pregnancy discrimination, you must be able to show evidence that you were treated differently to another employee with similar circumstances, and that this treatment happened because of your pregnancy. This can include:
- Direct Evidence such as your employer admitting that you were not hired, passed over for a promotion, terminated, or otherwise treated differently because you were pregnant.
- Circumstantial Evidence showing that your employer acted differently than usual or bypassed standard protocols because you were pregnant, for example:
- Your boss fires you for an infraction that did not occur, does not make sense, or only resulted in a warning for other employees.
- You are fired right before planned pregnancy leave, or right after you announce your pregnancy.
- Hiring someone other than you who has the same qualifications.
- A history of other employees being treated differently when pregnant.
Pregnancy discrimination can also overlap with several other legal infractions, such as:
How Do I Prove Discrimination At Work
This requires a plaintiff to first establish a prima facie case of employment discrimination by demonstrating that she: is a member of a protected class met her employers legitimate job performance expectations suffered an adverse employment action and another similarly situated employee outside of
Recommended Reading: How Does The Paragard Iud Prevent Pregnancy
What Are Examples Of Pregnancy Discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination in California can take many forms. For example, some companies might feel that their brand does not fit with a pregnant employee. Other times, an employer may use the opportunity to claim that a pregnant worker had too much time away from work. To best understand what your options are, it is important to understand the definition of pregnancy discrimination. In general, if you are pregnant and denied maternity leave or intermittent leave, a reasonable accommodation as a result of pregnancy restrictions, fired or face other discrimination, then you may have a case against your employer.
Some common examples of illegal pregnancy or childbirth discrimination involve any of the following treatment:
- Change in Compensation: It is illegal for an employer to change your compensation due to pregnancy or once you return from leave. For example, an employer may state that you had too much time away from work and need to be re-trained. If this is the case, it is recommended that you contact one of our experienced attorneys.
- Change of Job Assignments: Some mothers return to work and are told they have different job responsibilities. However, your job assignments should stay as they were before you left.
- Change in Terms of Employment: Employees have certain benefits and privileges. If you return to work after pregnancy and terms or privileges of your employment have changed, you might have grounds for a discrimination lawsuit.
Who To Contact If You Are Being Discriminated Against
If you have experienced discrimination, harassment or bullying at work, this might mean you have been exposed to an unsafe workplace. You can make a complaint about this to WorkCover NSW, who might investigate and try to prosecute your employer.
How do I talk to HR about discrimination?
If you feel you have been discriminated against by managers or co-workers, then you should file a complaint with the human resources department. Get ready to meet in person with an HR representative by having a written record of events and witness statements to present.
How do I sue my employer for discrimination?
In general, you need to file a complaint with the DFEH within three years of the last incident of employment discrimination or retaliation. You have to get a Right-to-Sue notice before you can file a lawsuit in civil court.
Direct Evidence Of Discrimination
Sometimes, an employee has direct evidence of discrimination. Essentially, this means that the employer admitted to acting with discriminatory intent.
If your employer said that your pregnancy played a part in its decision, you will have a much easier time in court. For example, if you were denied a promotion, and your manager said, “I’d like to give you the job, but I know you won’t want to travel as much once you have your baby,” that would be direct proof of discrimination. Even these days, attitudes about pregnancy, mothers, and women’s roles at home and in the workplace run the gamut. Although it’s very rare for an employer to admit to racist thinking, it’s not completely unheard of for an employer to openly state that an employee’s pregnancy was a factor in its decision.
What Can A Successful Lawsuit Can Do For Me
Not every discrimination claim ends in a lawsuit. Most cases result in a settlement offer in compensation for your company’s unlawful actions. Pregnancy discrimination settlements can be a path to a relatively rapid recovery and swift justice without the need to go to court. Your employment attorney will negotiate on your behalf in order to reach a fair and equitable settlement that compensates you for lost wages, and other damages.
If your former employer chooses to fight, however, a discrimination lawsuit may be called for in order to seek fair recovery over the injustice you suffered. If your case goes to trial, having a highly-rated litigator on your side who is unafraid and experienced in court can make all the difference.
Most commonly, you may qualify to collect relief from your former employer after job loss in the form of back pay. This includes compensation for missed wages, including both regular pay and benefits. In some cases injunctive relief is commonly sought, which may include reinstating your old job – when desired.
Understandably, it may present an awkward situation returning to work after suing your former boss, in such cases your lawyer will be able to discuss alternative options with you.
You May Like: How Can I Tell Im Pregnant Early
Are You Part Of A Protected Class
To sue an employer for discrimination you need to be part of a protected class. According to the EEOC this includes:
If youre unsure if you are part of a protected class, its best to schedule a free consultation with an employment lawyer to find out.
Must An Employer Hold Open The Job Of An Employee Who Is Absent On Leave Because She Is Temporarily Disabled By A Pregnancy
A pregnant employee’s job must be held open for her return on the same basis as jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave for other reasons.
If an employee is entitled to medical leave under the law and takes that medical leave in relation to a pregnancy, the returning employee must be reinstated to that employee’s former position if it is vacant, or reinstated into an equivalent position with equivalent compensation, benefits, work shifts, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment if the former position is not vacant. This is also true as to both male and female employees who take family leave for bonding or child care time under the law.
Don’t Miss: What Can I Do To Get Pregnant With Twins
Talk To A Religious Discrimination Lawyer Today We Offer Free Consultations And You Pay Nothing Unless We Win
The lawyers at Miracle Mile Law Group are specially trained in handling disability discrimination lawsuits. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated or discriminated against because of your religion, contact a Los Angeles Religion Discrimination Attorney today. Having a lawyer by your side when trying to prove that you have been discriminated against due to your religion is essential. The lawyers here at Miracle Mile Law Group are trained at identifying what to look for when going up against your employer. These cases are very time sensitive so give us a call at 244-0706 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation. Remember, we do not take a single dollar unless WE WIN!
Finding The Right Attorney
Many attorneys are familiar with discrimination cases and the laws surrounding the EEOC. Your first filter for attorneys should be to seek out those with significant experience in pregnancy and sex discrimination specifically. This can give you a significant advantage. While discrimination of any kind is wrong, each kind of discrimination is a little bit different and deals with other areas of law. By finding an attorney who is well versed in pregnancy discrimination, you give yourself extra specific resources and expertise during the legal process. For some people, it is preferable to find an attorney who is of their same gender. For pregnancy specifically, you may have to discuss relatively intimate topics with your attorney so that they may get a good picture of what is going on. Consider if the attorneys gender is important to you, and be sure that you feel comfortable with whomever you hire.
Also Check: How To Get Pregnant Fast Pills
How Can I Sue For Pregnancy Discrimination
Workplace discrimination comes in many different forms and can be based on any number of factors. While employers enjoy a wide range of reasons for letting someone go, they cannot discriminate because someone is pregnant. When that happens, the person can choose to sue. If they do, theyll need to employ the help of a dedicated discrimination lawyer in New Jersey.
Today, we look at the major steps in suing someone and how the right discrimination lawyer in New Jersey can help you get the justice you deserve.
What Constitutes Pregnancy Discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination involves treating women employees or job applicants unfavorably on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or conditions that are related. Pregnancy discrimination may include any one or all of the following:
- Denying a job to a pregnant applicant.
- Firing or demoting an employee who is pregnant.
- Refusing the same or similar job to a pregnant employee when she returns from maternity leave.
- Treating a pregnant employee differently than other employees who are on temporary disability.
- Failing to grant a male employee health insurance coverage for his wife’s pregnancy-related conditions if the male employee has comprehensive health insurance coverage through the same company plan.
Under the law, a pregnancy or related condition may be considered a temporary disability. Such conditions may include morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, post-partum recovery or any other medical conditions relating to pregnancy or childbirth. Pregnant employees must be given the same treatment and benefits as other employees with temporary disabilities.
Don’t Miss: What Is Teenage Pregnancy Causes And Effects
What To Do If You Are Being Discriminated Against At Work
You can file a complaint with OFCCP if you think you have been discriminated against in employment, or in applying for employment, because of your race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, status as a protected veteran, or for asking about, discussing, or disclosing
Helping Victims Of Pregnancy Discrimination
Federal and state laws protect women from the risk of losing a job as a result of having a child. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, in other words pregnancy discrimination.
Simply stated, an employer may not terminate an employee or refuse to hire a person because of her pregnancy. By law, there are a number of other responsibilities on the part of employers as it relates to pregnancy:
- A pregnant worker cannot be forced to take a leave of absence as long as she can perform her job.
- A pregnant worker must be given the same health, disability, and sick leave benefits as any other employee who has a medical condition.
- A woman who takes a leave of absence due to pregnancy and childbirth must have her position at work held open for the same length of time that jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave.
- Unmarried pregnant women must receive the same benefits as married pregnant women.
In addition, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law requires employers to provide unpaid leave of absence not to exceed four months to employees who are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The requirements regarding pregnancy discrimination stipulated in this act cover employers with more than 25 employees for 20 or more weeks within the current or preceding calendar years.
Don’t Miss: How Can You Know When You Pregnant