Pregnancy discrimination is an unfair situation that some women may experience while in the workforce. Fortunately, pregnant workers have legal protections they can use against their employers when facing discrimination. For example, a federal jury in California awarded a woman $186 million after she was fired from AutoZone due to her pregnancy. Another case recently reported on by the San Francisco Chronicle involved a woman working for a produce company who was fired one day after sharing news of her pregnancy with a supervisor.
In fact, many cases of pregnancy discrimination involve women who were fired by their employers. Employers use tactics such as fabricating poor performance reviews or lackluster attendance records to justify job termination.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims pregnancy discrimination can include reassigning workers to other positions (the AutoZone worker was demoted before she was fired), wrongful termination or harassment – just to name a few examples.
If this sounds familiar, the good news is that you may have legal options thanks to federal and state laws.
How to Fight Back Against Pregnancy Discrimination
Pregnant workers have several legal protections provided by laws such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). This amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 established federal workplace protections for pregnant workers. Under the PDA, employees are prohibited from being treated differently due to pregnancy.
Pregnant workers also have federal and state protections during pregnancy leave. Federal protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act allow pregnant workers to take twelve weeks of unpaid time off to care for children. California’s protections are much more generous (so be thankful you live here!).
The California Family Rights Act allows new parents to take six weeks of family leave at 55 percent pay, although this number will increase to 60 to 70 percent by 2018 (depending on your income). If you have been subjected to pregnancy discrimination, an employment law attorney can help you explore legal options.
The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help workers who have faced pregnancy discrimination hold their employers accountable.