Pregnancy Discrimination Claims Are on the Rise
Job discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is illegal under both federal and Florida state law. But just because taking negative employment action against an employee because she is or recently was pregnant is illegal does not mean that employers are not doing so anyway, either deliberately or in ignorance of laws related to pregnancy discrimination.
TIME magazine recently reported on a federal hearing that was held on this topic by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, known as the EEOC. Apparently pregnancy discrimination charges have increased by 35 percent in the past 10 years (during which time about 52,000 pregnancy discrimination complaints were made to the agency). Overall, 20 percent of female discrimination charges filed with the EEOC during this time had something to do with pregnancy.
You can’t take anything for granted, even the fact that you should be treated fairly and with support at work when you are going through the physical challenges of pregnancy while holding down a demanding job.
Understandably, negative employment actions inspired by pregnancy or recent birth – like firing, harassment, demotion, denial of leave, forced leave, reduction in hours, or a cut in pay or benefits – can be devastating to a pregnant or recently pregnant woman. Fortunately, the law protects against such treatment and women who are discriminated against unlawfully can hold their employers accountable.
Anyone who suspects her employer is taking negative action against her because of her pregnancy should talk to an experienced pregnancy discrimination lawyer immediately to preserve her rights and learn how to fight back.
(published: July 2016)