Employment discrimination can happen to anyone, including pregnant women. Did you know that the EEOC received nearly 3,500 pregnancy discrimination charges in 2016 alone? In 2017, it was nearly 3,200.
In a recent class-action lawsuit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the huge retail chain Walmart is being sued for alleged pregnancy discrimination. This is an important case in the fight for employee rights — the EEOC is tasked with administering the federal laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination and is attempting to hold a large corporation responsible for alleged illegal behavior in the workplace.
The details of the case are as follows: pregnant female employees at a Walmart warehouse in Menomonie, Wisconsin, were denied the option to participate in the company’s light-duty program. The EEOC’s director in Chicago said that not allowing them this opportunity amounted to pregnancy discrimination.
Walmart has denied the allegations. A company spokesperson has said that “Walmart is a great place for women to work.”
An additional statement by the retail giant’s representatives stated that the company’s job accommodation policies have been revised and updated several times over recent years to comply with all federal laws that prohibit pregnancy discrimination.
Pregnant Workers’ Legal Rights
Just like many other types of employees, pregnant workers have legal rights too. Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Pregnancy discrimination is also covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
The protections include:
getting reasonable job accommodations in the workplace
protections against unlawful firing,
denial of benefits,
not getting hired or promoted due to pregnancy, and