Pregnancy discrimination affects nearly every industry in every geographic area.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that pregnancy discrimination cases show some of the most overt, if unconscious, discrimination of any cases. The Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers of Helmer Friedman LLP aggressively represent people that have encountered discrimination due to pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions.

Pregnancy discrimination is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which includes the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  Pregnancy discrimination includes:

  • Refusing to hire a pregnant applicant.
  • Firing or demoting a pregnant employee.
  • Denying the same or similar job to an employee when she returns from pregnancy related leave.
  • Treating a pregnant employee differently than other temporarily disabled employees.
  • Failing to grant a male employee health insurance coverage of his wife’s pregnancy related conditions if a female employee’s husband has comprehensive health insurance coverage through the same company plan.

Pregnancy related conditions are considered temporary disability and may include; severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, and any other related conditions.  If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job duties due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employees to modify tasks, perform alternative assignments or take disability leave or leave without pay, the employer also must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy to do the same.  Employers must also hold a job for a pregnancy related absence the same length of time jobs are held for employees on sick or disability leave.

Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs.  If an employee has been absent from work as a result of a pregnancy related condition and recovers, her employer may not require her to remain on leave until the baby’s birth.  An employer also may not prohibit an employee from returning to work for a predetermined length of time after childbirth. Following are a few examples of potentially illegal pregnancy discrimination:

  • During an interview, an employer or agency asks an applicant how many children she has and if she is planning to get pregnant again. The applicant says she is four months pregnant. The employer or agency tells her to come back after she has her child and is ready to work.
  • An employee tells her boss at work that she is pregnant. Her boss fires her after learning the news, even though she is still able to work for several more months.
  • A pregnant worker at a fast food restaurant asks her boss if she can stop lifting heavy boxes during her pregnancy. The boss says no, even though another employee did not have to lift boxes at work while recovering from surgery. The pregnant worker is forced to quit her job.
  • A pregnant employee needs to take time off to visit her doctor for prenatal care. She is docked and eventually disciplined for missing time from work, even though other workers who need ongoing medical treatment are not docked nor disciplined.

In 2016, the EEOC and FEPA received 3,486 pregnancy discrimination complaints.  If you have been treated unfairly due to a pregnancy, pregnancy related illness or childbirth give the Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney’s at Helmer Friedman LLP a call at (310) 396-7714.

Have you, a friend or family member experienced illegal pregnancy discrimination by an employer or potential employer?