Pregnancy Discrimination: It Happens More Often Than You Think

What to Do if You Believe You Were Discriminated Against Because of Pregnancy or a Related Condition

Pregnancy discrimination is like an unchecked wildfire in the American workplace, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street – and it seems to be getting worse. It occurs when a pregnant woman or even a new mom is passed over for promotion, doesn’t get the raise she deserves, or gets fired for complaining about either of those things; it happens when women’s jobs are at-risk because they involve physical labor or pregnant moms say they need rest breaks. It can also occur when pregnant women or moms are ignored when it’s time for a prestigious project, left out of meetings or skipped over when it’s time for bonuses.

Pregnancy discrimination is against the law, but it’s still happening… and if it has happened to you, here’s what you can do about it:

  • Become informed on pregnancy discrimination
  • Gather documentation that supports your case
  • Talk to a pregnancy discrimination lawyer in Glendale
  • With your lawyer’s help, file suit against your employer

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions is illegal thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, or PDA. The PDA is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and it says:

  • An employer can’t refuse to hire someone because of a pregnancy-related condition as long as she’s able to perform the major functions of the job, or because of its prejudices against pregnant workers (or because of coworkers, clients or customers who have prejudices).
  • Employers cannot discriminate because of pregnancy in any aspect of employment, including job assignments, pay, promotions, training, layoffs or firing.
  • Employers cannot stop a pregnant employee from working as long as she is able to perform her job.
  • Employers must treat pregnant employees who are temporarily unable to perform their jobs the same way they’d treat other employees in similar situations.
  • In some cases, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation for temporary disabilities that pregnant women experience.
  • Employers have to provide the same benefits to pregnant women on medical leave that they would provide to other employees on medical leave.

What to Do if You Believe You Were Discriminated Against Because of Pregnancy or a Related Condition

If you think you were discriminated against because of pregnancy or a related condition – including breastfeeding, you should gather any documentation that supports your case. Emails or written communication between you and your employer, statements of people who witnessed what happened to you, or even a notice that you were laid off or your job was terminated can help if you decide to pursue a case.

Real Stories of Pregnancy Discrimination

There are several stories of pregnancy discrimination occurring all over the U.S. One woman, Erin Murphy, was told being pregnant would “definitely plateau” her career after receiving pre-pregnancy performance reviews that described her as “diligent, conscientious and determined.” Another, Christine Macarelli, was told by her boss at Novartis that “women who find themselves in my position — single, unmarried — should consider an abortion.” Upon returning from maternity leave, Macarelli’s boss told her to stop trying for a promotion because of her “unfortunate circumstances at home” (referring to having a child).

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Pregnancy Discrimination?

If you need to talk to an attorney because you’ve been discriminated against because of pregnancy or a related condition, we may be able to help you. Call us immediately at 818-659-8324 or contact us online for a free case review.


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