There were nearly four-million births in the U.S. last year. At least that many women experience pregnancy every year, many of whom are noticeably pregnant at one point or another. In other words, pregnancy is not uncommon.Unfortunately, Neither is Pregnancy Discrimination
While modern medicine and science help women work well into their pregnancies, many still experience unfair treatment in the workplace. Pregnant women are often overlooked for job promotions, terminated, and/or retaliated against for taking family leave. Even worse, pregnant job applicants are less likely to land the job than non-pregnant candidates.
Pregnancy discrimination is emotionally taking and dangerously unhealthy for the mother and unborn child. No woman deserves to be treated this way.
Consult a Miami pregnancy discrimination lawyer if you feel that your employer is discriminating against you on the basis of pregnancy
In the meantime, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with two important laws that protect against pregnancy discrimination.What is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) as an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. The PDA covers every aspect of employment, including hiring/interview process, job assignments, benefits, termination, etc.
The PDA states that women “affected by a pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs.” Personal/medical leave and health insurance are two examples of fringe benefits.What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 entitles eligible employees to unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons. The FMLA ensures these employees receive the same group health insurance coverage they would have had if they had not taken leave.
Under the FMLA, new parents (including foster and adoptive parents) may be eligible for 12 weeks of leave (unpaid or paid) for childcare. Generally, employees are only eligible if they worked for the employer for at least 12 months on a full-time basis and work for an employer with over 50 employees. Speak with a Miami pregnancy discrimination attorney to determine if you’re eligible for FMLA and make sure to request FMLA in writing and to give proper notice that the leave is for a medical condition.How is Pregnancy Discrimination Committed?
Pregnant employees are just that: employees. As such, employers must treat them equal to their counterparts. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case in the workplace. Consider the following examples:
- It is unlawful to harass a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth in the workplace. For example, unsolicited comments about a pregnant woman’s physical appearance or hormone levels are forms of harassment.
- Fringe Benefits Package
- Pregnant employees are entitled to equal personal/medical leave and group health insurance. For example, pregnant employees are entitled up to 12-weeks of family leave for the purpose of childcare following the child’s birth.
- Reasonable Accommodation
- Some pregnant employees experience side effects that may afford them additional protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As such, employers must provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodation(s) necessary to perform the job.
- Nursing Mothers
- Nursing mothers have the right to express milk in the workplace under a provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act. As such, employers may not deny a nursing mother time to express breast milk during work hours.
These are some of the cases that Miami employment law attorney Alberto Naranjo has personally handled to prove pregnancy discrimination. Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality, but the details of the story remain the same.
Protecting Yourself Against Pregnant Discrimination
Kristy was working for a janitorial services company when she revealed her pregnancy to management. Shortly after informing them, Kristy says management started reprimanding her for alleged infractions that happened several months before. Combined, the alleged infractions cost Kristy her job; she was terminated. Alberto was able to prove this was clearly an act of pregnancy discrimination and Kristy received compensatory damages. The baby’s doing great, too!
Sara’s pregnancy was physically and emotionally taxing. Sara lost her job after presenting the employer, with a doctor’s note to “limit heavy lifting” at work. Overwhelmed, Sara hired AN Law Firm, P.A. to relieve some of the mental anguish. In the end, attorney Alberto Naranjo recovered all of her lost wages, plus additional money for the employer-induced traumatic stress.
Michelle worked several years remotely for a major cosmetics brand, but the company decided to eliminate the virtual position after she became pregnant. The company abruptly terminated Michelle without an offer to work at the company office with the rest of the team.
The following tips will help employees strengthen their claim of pregnancy discrimination.
- Detailed Records
- Document all discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory comments made and/or directed about you. Include a list of others present but keep the information private until consulting an attorney. Employment law experts suggest employees keep a personal diary (not on company-owned devices) for these record-keeping purposes.
- Personal Emails
- It may be difficult to recover emails from a former employer’s serves. Use a personal email account to report instances of discrimination to HR.
- Observe the Workplace
- It’s possible an employer may favor some employees over others, but that’s only illegal if it violates anti-discrimination laws. Pay close attention to how the employer treats employees in similar roles who are not pregnant.
- Contact an Employment Law Attorney
- Pregnancy discrimination claims require expert legal advice. Before speaking with your employer, discuss your pregnancy discrimination case with a Miami lawyer.
Labor laws are indescribably nuanced. Without the expert legal advice of an employment law attorney, proving that pregnancy discrimination occurred may be difficult.
If your employer is discriminating against you on the basis of pregnancy, contact AN Law Firm, P.A. for a risk-free consultation about your unpaid wage claim.