Whether you’re pregnant now, thinking of becoming pregnant or simply of child-bearing age, you and your employment could be vulnerable to pregnancy discrimination. Women’s rights have come a long way, but pregnancy discrimination still exists in today’s workplace.
Where pregnancy discrimination exists, employers may hire a less-qualified candidate over one they suspect may be planning a pregnancy. An employer may bypass young women at promotion time or suddenly begin unjust evaluations or accusations of misconduct close to the woman’s maternity leave.
An employer might be unwilling to allow adjustments to a woman’s responsibilities so that she can manage medical complications of pregnancy. The law stipulates that a woman who is temporarily unable to perform her job due to complications of pregnancy must be treated in the same manner as any other temporarily-disabled person.
Harassment of a pregnant woman that creates a hostile or offensive work environment is also illegal, whether the harassing party is the woman’s co-worker, supervisor or customer.
Depending on the policies of the employer and other factors, a woman may be entitled to a period of family leave to care for her new child. Failure to provide for such leave under the terms of the law may be pregnancy discrimination. While on maternity leave, a woman might find that her position has suddenly been eliminated and her responsibilities reassigned. Upon her return to work, she may find that she is denied opportunities for career advancement.
In addition, the law provides that employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Failure to comply falls into the larger category of pregnancy discrimination.
Such actions may indicate a general corporate policy of illegal pregnancy discrimination. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission states clearly: “The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.” That applies to women of child-bearing age, whether or not they are pregnant.
Pregnancy discrimination may be subtle and may take many different forms. If you believe you have been subject to pregnancy discrimination, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself and preserve your ability to hold your employer accountable for discrimination. To prove your case, we will need evidence that your employer discriminated against you because of your pregnancy – and we will need to refute other reasons they may provide. We will also be looking for other people that can corroborate the fact that you were discriminated against because of your pregnancy.
Contact Foley Lyman Law Group LLP
If you are seeking legal counsel who will listen to your concerns, inform you of your options and represent you effectively, contact Foley Lyman Law Group at 310.706.4050 for a confidential consultation. You can also send us an email to obtain more information or schedule an appointment with one of our award winning employment and business lawyers.