It doesn’t take a law degree to know that getting terminated from your job based merely on announcing your pregnancy is wrong. That situation has the potential for discrimination. If your company is larger than fifteen people, your rights are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). However, termination is not the only way pregnant women are discriminated against.
There are other ways your employer could be discriminating against you if you’re pregnant. Because these subtle ways are less obvious, many women don’t even realize it’s discrimination. They include:
Refusing to Hire
An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman based on the fact that she is pregnant as long as she is able to perform the job duties required. If you feel you’ve been turned down for a job due to pregnancy, consult an employment attorney.
Inequitable Use of Leave
Companies larger than 50 employees are mandated by the federal government (under the Family Medical Leave Act) to allow employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave a year. Some businesses require its employees to use their accrued vacation leave prior to taking unpaid time. This means if you’ve been saving time, you may have to use it before being eligible for FMLA. Companies are within their rights to require you to do so. However, if you’ve been forced to do this for maternity leave but other employees out under the FMLA have not, you may have a valid claim of discrimination under the PDA.
No Accommodations for Becoming Disabled
If you’ve become disabled due to pregnancy (or childbirth), your employer must make the same accommodations for you that they would for someone who is medically suffering or had been involved in something like a car accident. In this situation you may also be protected under the American Disabilities Act (ADA), which could mean additional time off or other assistive considerations.
Removal from a Job
A pregnant woman must be allowed to perform her job as long as she is physically able to do so. For instance, while a baggage handler may not be able to perform her job, a ticket taker most likely can. If you’ve been transferred or reassigned based on your pregnancy, but are still able to perform your original job, you may have grounds for a discrimination case.
If you believe you’ve been discriminated against based on your pregnancy, seek legal counsel. With so many intricacies in the law, you are best served finding a tenacious, experienced discrimination attorney.
Contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. today for a free consultation and to find out what your rights are. Your blessed event shouldn’t be marred by concerns over your employment. We can help.