What is Pregnancy Discrimination?
Author : Marcus McGowan | Published On : 14 Oct 2021
In employment law, "pregnancy discrimination" refers to when an employer treats an employee or job applicant unfairly because they are pregnant, have given birth, or are suffering from any other medical condition related to pregnancy and/or childbirth. In essence, the rule prohibits companies from discriminating against pregnant employees in any element of their job, including terminations, promotions, salary, and maternity leave. An employer, for example, cannot fire an employee solely because she is pregnant. At organizations with 15 or more employees, the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits women from being fired or discriminated against because of their pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical problems.
What Should I do If I'm being discriminated against because I'm Pregnant?
If an employee or job applicant is discriminated against because of their pregnancy, they must retain records of the situation, such as personal daily notes of what happened or documentation that could be used as evidence. For example, if an employee has been the victim of pregnancy discrimination on multiple occasions and has sent an email warning their human resources department, but the department has done nothing to halt the discriminatory behavior, the employee should keep the email as evidence.
The next step would be to submit a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the individual's state administrative agency after gathering proof and contacting human resources. The EEOC handles federal claims (or claims from one of the 23 states without state pregnancy discrimination legislation), while the latter handles state claims. Because the individual only has 180 days to file a claim, they should do so as quickly as feasible. This limit may be extended to 300 days in some situations, but specific conditions must be met first.
The EEOC will investigate the claim after it has been lodged. If the EEOC discovers that the employer has engaged in discriminatory behavior, they will settle the problem on their own through remedies like requiring the firm to change their policies or offering a satisfactory resolution for the employee. If, on the other hand, the EEOC cannot or does not establish that a discriminatory act occurred, the employee will be sent a document known as a Notice of Right to Sue. This allows the employee to take matters into their own hands by engaging a private lawyer and filing a lawsuit against the employer in court.
If you have any questions, worries, or are in the middle of a disagreement about a claim for pregnant discrimination, you should speak with a local employment lawyer or discrimination attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to tell you if you have a case and if so, will assist you in gathering evidence to back up your claim. A lawyer can also defend you at appropriate court hearings or settlement negotiations, as well as assist you in obtaining compensation for any damages incurred as a result of an employer's discriminatory behavior.
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