All Americans have a right to work and earn a living in a fair, open, and competitive environment regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or age. The same is true of expectant mothers. Learning that you are expecting a new baby is one of the most exciting and wonderful things a person can experience, and it should be a joyful occasion, celebrated by all. Sadly, for many women, finding out they are pregnant means the threat of losing a career. This fear affects blue collar and white collar women alike.
Many employers feel that pregnancy equals diminished abilities, or they presume that a pregnant woman will be unfocused or unable to continue doing her job. While these may be completely unfair and untrue assumptions, they underlie serious discriminatory employment actions. If you have suffered an adverse employment action such as termination or reduction in hours due to your pregnancy, contact Five Points Law Group today.
If you have lost a job or had your hours reduced because you are pregnant, you may have a claim against your employer for pregnancy discrimination. There are two laws that offer specific protections for expecting mothers.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA): This federal law prohibits discrimination that is based on pregnancy. This applies to situations involving termination, hiring, pay rate, determinations about job assignments, hours, leave, training, relocation, and even health insurance coverage. Basically, if your pregnancy is the basis for an employer making a decision that singles you out for negative and different treatment with respect to your job, then you may have a case.
Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Pregnant mothers have a right to take off time from work to be with their newborn babies in many cases. While this federal law does not apply to everyone, for those it does cover, the protections can be useful. In general, when the law applies, a new mother has a right to take up to 12 weeks of leave to be with a new baby and to recover from labor and delivery. Mothers must use any paid leave or sick time first, but this requires employers let the worker return after leave without adverse consequences.
Most employers will not come right out and say you are being laid off or demoted to a lesser position in the company because of your pregnancy. Instead, they will usually rely on pretexts, including comments like these:
As you can tell, these types of remarks reveal a deeper sense of sexism and a presumption that women cannot be mothers and career-focused at the same time.
If you are a working mom or expectant mother who has lost a job or suffered a negative employment action as a result of becoming pregnant, you may have a right to be compensated for your losses. In general, not all employers and employees are covered by the law, and there are short time limits that apply to filing a claim, so contact Five Points Law Group to talk to an attorney today.