The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 added pregnancy as a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. With this law, employers may not discriminate against pregnant employees in any way. Additionally, they must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees who request them. Failure to provide reasonable accommodations is a form of pregnancy discrimination.
Pregnancy discrimination can look quite similar to discrimination based on other protected classes, like race, religion, and sex. Examples of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace include:
When an employee needs modifications to his or her work schedule, workspace, or job duties in order to perform the job, he or she may ask for reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations are changes the employer can make without creating a safety hazard or undue burden for other employees or the company itself.
Common accommodations pregnant employees seek include:
If you face pregnancy discrimination at work, document every instance of the discrimination you face and report it to your supervisor and Human Resources department. If reporting your experience to these parties does not end the discrimination, you have the right to file a pregnancy discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Your lawyer can help you compile your claim and obtain evidence to support it. Following an investigation of your claim, the EEOC may facilitate a settlement between you and your company. If this does not happen, you can file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer to pursue compensation for your related damages. Pregnancy discrimination can be expensive: when you are denied benefits, you must often reach into your own pocket to cover healthcare costs. When you miss work due to emotional distress or suffer physical injuries because of an unsafe or uncomfortable work environment, your lost wages can accrue rapidly.
If you suffered financial damages because you faced pregnancy discrimination at work, you have the right to pursue compensation for these damages with an experienced employment lawyer. To learn more, contact our team at Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.
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