Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
Welcoming a new baby into the world is a blessed time for new parents. Yet many employers see this happy occasion as a threat to their bottom line, and in turn, create a hostile workplace for moms-to-be.
However, new moms are protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (P.D.A.), an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which clarifies that discrimination based on pregnancy is a form of sex discrimination. Under Title VII employers are prohibited from treating pregnant women differently from other sick, injured, or disabled employees.
As a leading pregnancy discrimination law firm in Atlanta, Barrett & Farahany can help you understand your rights under Title VII to protect the well-being of your new family. Pregnancy discrimination can include any of the following actions by an employer:
- Refusing to hire a pregnant applicant
- Firing or demoting a pregnant employee
- Denying the same or similar job to a pregnant employee when she returns from a pregnancy-related leave
- Refusing to accommodate a pregnant employee if she is unable to perform certain aspects of her job, such as heavy lifting or working with toxic chemicals
- Failing to grant a male employee health insurance coverage for his wife’s pregnancy-related conditions if a female employee’s husband has comprehensive health insurance through the same company plan
As a new parent, you also have the right to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to take care of your child if your company has 50 or more employees and you have been working for the organization for at least a year. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), enacted in 1983, guarantees that your health benefits remain while you are bonding with your newborn and that your job is secure until you return to work.
Protecting Your Family and Your Career Against Pregnancy Discrimination
Thirty-five years after P.D.A. was enacted, parents continue to be victims of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace – many employers still look at pregnancy as a liability. If you have been discriminated against, it’s important to maintain all employee and medical records and seek representation from a law firm specializing in pregnancy discrimination cases. The lawyers at Barrett & Farahany can guide you through the steps necessary to take legal action – as a victim, you may be entitled to a number of remedies under Title VII including back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.
American workers have the shortest maternity leaves among developed nations, and the U.S. is the only country without paid maternity leave. Therefore, it’s critical to take advantage of the rights parents do have under Title VII to protect your health and that of your child.