Employers are prohibited from discriminating against a woman based on her pregnant status, according to federal rules. Discrimination against pregnant employees is illegal. Employees can file a lawsuit if their employers refuse to promote them or provide them with incentives or fire them because of their pregnancy.
An estimated 50,000 complaints are filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) each year, alleging that an employer discriminated against a pregnant employee. It is common for pregnant employees to complain that they are denied light duty and other necessary concessions due to their pregnancy.
For those who have experienced pregnancy-related discrimination, it’s critical to understand the specifications for proving pregnancy discrimination.
Defining Pregnancy Discrimination
Unlawful sex discrimination against women during pregnancy is a form of pregnancy discrimination. Employers who discriminate against applicants or employees because of their pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions are referred to as discriminatory employers. Unlawful gender discrimination includes treating female employees differently because of their reproductive capabilities, such as making it compulsory for a woman in her childbearing years to work with chemicals that could harm an unborn child.
During an employee’s job relationship, be it during the recruiting process or termination, pregnancy discrimination can occur. It is unlawful to refuse to hire, promote, demote, or sack anyone because she is pregnant.
Employees who are pregnant are not permitted to be treated differently from other employees under this law. When a company assigns light-duty tasks to other employees who have minor disabilities, the company must also provide the same assignments to employees who cannot perform their regular job duties due to pregnancy.
Methods to Prove Pregnancy Discrimination
For a pregnancy discrimination case to be successful, you need to demonstrate that you were held to a different standard than other employees in a similar situation like yours and that this different behavior in treatment was based on your pregnancy. Depending on the facts of your case, there are a variety of approaches to demonstrate unfairness.
Circumstantial Evidence of Pregnancy Discrimination
Even if your employer denies that pregnancy influenced their decision, you need to have enough evidence to convince a court or jury of discrimination. To assert discrimination by circumstantial evidence, the elements of your case must be such that it is much more likely than not that your employer’s behavior was motivated by prejudice.
Circumstantial evidence frequently comprises reports proving the employer strayed from its customary procedures or policies, acted in a way that did not make business sense, or changed its behavior. Questionable management acts committed after your pregnancy is evident or known could create an inference of bias. The proof of statistics or other pregnant employees’ treatment may also be persuasive.
Timing is of great importance in pregnancy discrimination cases. Pregnancy, unlike other protected traits, is temporary. Discrimination may occur if your employer begins treating you differently soon after learning of your pregnancy.
Direct Evidence of Pregnancy Discrimination
At times, it is very much possible for the employees to have direct proof of pregnancy discrimination. In a nutshell, this means the employer acknowledged the discriminatory actions.
If your employer admits that your pregnancy affected their decision, your pregnancy discrimination case will be substantially more manageable for you to deal with in court. If you have declined a promotion or increment or your boss stated, “I’d want to offer you the position, but I realize that you won’t want to travel as much once you have your baby,” that’s outright discrimination. Even now, perceptions regarding pregnancy, mothers, and women’s roles at home and work vary. It is rare for an employer to acknowledge racist beliefs publicly, but it is not unheard of for an employer to publicly claim that an employee’s pregnancy played a role in their choice.
How to Deal?
If you suspect you are a victim of pregnancy discrimination, contact an attorney immediately. If you are still working, you may be able to save your employment. A brief letter from an attorney may make your company reconsider disciplinary action. Whether you want to negotiate a severance payout or file a lawsuit, an attorney can assist you in evaluating your claims. Only an experienced attorney can help you protect your rights.