Pregnancy Discrimination

Federal law prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy. The attorneys at Patterson Harkavy have represented victims of pregnancy discrimination for decades.  In one case, partner Burton Craige was the lead government attorney in a successful suit on behalf of approximately 9,000 women who were denied temporary disability insurance benefits, in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

If you think you may have been discriminated against because of your pregnancy, contact us today.

What is pregnancy discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats a woman who is either a job applicant or employee unfavorably due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

What laws make pregnancy discrimination illegal?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and made pregnancy fall under the existing provision that one cannot be discriminated against on the basis of sex. Under the Act, women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions are to be treated the same as other employees. This applies to employers with more than 15 employees, to include local, state, and federal governments, labor organizations, and employment agencies.

There are several provisions in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act designed to protect pregnant women from unlawful discrimination.  These provisions ensure that:

  • Employers may not discriminate against a female job applicant because she is pregnant.
  • Employers must treat a pregnant employee who is temporarily unable to perform her job duties in the same way they treat other temporarily disabled employees. This can include things such as making accommodations in the employee’s job duties or allowing temporary leave.
  • Pregnant employees must be able to work as long as they can perform their job duties, and an employer cannot stipulate that a woman cannot return to work after childbirth until a certain date decided on by the employer.
  • Employers must hold a job for a pregnant employee on leave for the same amount of time jobs are held for employees out on sick or disability leave.
  • Insurance provided by the employer must cover pregnancy-related medical expenses just as the insurance covers other medical conditions.
  • Pregnancy-related benefits also apply to unmarried women.

Pregnancy discrimination can also violate the American Disability Act if the employer perceives the employee’s pregnancy as a disability and makes decisions based on that perception.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can also come into play in some pregnancy discrimination cases if the employer did not follow federal guidelines. Additionally, nursing mothers may also have a right to express milk in the work place under the Fair Standards Labor Act.

What can I do?

If you believe you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, call Patterson Harkavy at 1-800-458-2541 or contact us online today.