Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

 

The citizens of the United States have decided that women and families should not lose their livelihoods, careers and right to support their families because of the natural processes associated with childbirth.

Thus, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Discrimination in the Workplace on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII.

Hiring and Working ConditionsPregnancy Discrimination

An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy related condition if she can perform the major functions of her job.  An employer cannot refuse to hire her because of prejudice against pregnant workers or because of the prejudices of clients or customers.  The PDA also forbids discrimination because of pregnancy as to any other aspect of employment, including pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, and firing.

Pregnancy and Maternity Leave

An employer may not single out pregnancy related conditions for medical exams that are not required of employees who are similar in their ability to work.  For example, if an employer requires its employees to submit a doctor’s statement concerning their inability to work before granting leave or paying sick benefits, the employer may require employees affected by pregnancy related conditions to do the same.

Under the PDA, an employer that allows temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave or leave without pay must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy to do the same. Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy related absence the same length of time that jobs are held open for employees on sick or temporary disability leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, new parent may be eligible for 12 weeks of leave that may be used for care of the new child.  To be eligible, the employee must have worked for the employer for 12 months prior to taking the leave and the employer must have a specified number of employees.  For more information please see: www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm.

Pregnancy and Temporary Disability

If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her in the same manner as any other temporarily disabled employee; for example, by providing light duty, modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave, or leave without pay.

In addition, medical conditions resulting from pregnancy may be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  An employer may have to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disability related to pregnancy, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense).  The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 makes it much easier to show that a medical condition is a covered disability.

Important Recent Decision about Pregnancy Discrimination Rights

Recently the United States Supreme Court issued an important decision in this area.  In 2006, Peggy Young worked as a delivery driver for United Parcel Service (UPS). She requested time off to undergo in vitro fertilization. After becoming pregnant, Young’s doctors advised that “she should not lift more than 20 pounds during the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy or more than 10 pounds thereafter.” UPS required that delivery drivers be able to lift parcels up to 70 pounds (150 pounds with assistance).

The Court took a compromise position.  It ruled, “[a] worker making a claim that her company intentionally treated her differently due to her pregnancy must show that she sought an accommodation, her company refused and then granted accommodations to others suffering from similar restrictions. The company, in turn, can try to show that its reasons were legitimate — but not because it is more expensive or less convenient to add pregnant women to the categories of workers who are accommodated.”

Do You Face Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace?

At The Fraley Law Firm, our Florida-based law firm will confidentially review your potential Pregnancy Discrimination claim with you. All calls and questions are 100% confidential.

If we take your claim, representation is on a contingency fee basis meaning that you do not have to pay us anything unless we obtain justice for you, meaning a settlement or getting your job back- any payment comes out of the total sum of the settlement that we obtain from the employer if they violated the law.

We have the legal knowledge and litigation experience to pursue your claim with the goal of protecting our community and your rights as a citizen to earn a livelihood. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

The Fraley Law Firm, P.A.