Can Single Mothers Be Fired for Becoming Pregnant?
Last year, members of the U.S. House of Representatives created H.R. 2802, also known as the First Amendment Defense Act. If the bill had passed the House, Senate and been signed into law by President Barack Obama (which would have never happened, just to be clear), it would might have allowed business owners to fire single mothers on the grounds of religious freedom. Pregnancy discrimination laws might have undergone drastic changes.
Only recently did the bill receive a hearing. The implications of this bill raise important questions. Can single pregnant women be fired simply because their bosses have religious objections to bearing children out of wedlock? Not legally! Current laws offer pregnant women protections.
How Pregnancy Discrimination Laws Protect Single Women
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) considers firing single mothers over their pregnancy status to be discriminatory. There are also several laws that such actions may violate. First, pregnant women have protections under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids employers from making employment decisions based on the pregnancy status of workers. This can include decisions involving job assignments, benefits, termination, pay and hiring.
In addition, pregnant women have protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (you may know this as the ADA). Pregnant women may be unable to carry out certain tasks due to medical conditions caused by pregnancy or childbirth. Employers may have to provide alternative assignments or disability leave in some situations. Like other disabilities, employers must provide reasonable accommodations, unless those accommodations create undue hardships. Pregnant employees also have protections under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
There are various laws that protect pregnant women from discrimination. Pregnant women who are facing workplace discrimination can gather evidence and discuss legal options with an attorney.
The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help workers fight back against discrimination.