Unfortunately, some employers don’t accord pregnant employees the consideration and respect they deserve. In fact, certain misguided companies can go as far as firing an employee because they’re pregnant.
The reason for this miscalculated action is the perception of pregnancy as a handicap, which could be a detriment to the employee’s performance now and in the future. Fortunately for employees who are also parents-to-be, employment law doesn’t allow employers to terminate workers because they’re pregnant. If you believe you were fired for being pregnant, you may have a claim for damages against your employer.
What is pregnancy discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination is a violation of employment rights and transpires when an employer treats an employee unfavorably due to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. If you suspect you were fired due to pregnancy, it’s crucial to understand your rights and explore the legal options available to you.
An excellent place to start is documenting the circumstances surrounding your termination. Note any comments, actions or incidents that suggest discrimination. This documentation can be valuable if legal action becomes necessary.
Legal protections and rights
Understanding that various laws protect pregnant employees from discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act can be helpful if you’re nervous about speaking with an attorney. This is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex, which includes pregnancy. As long as your employer has 15 or more employees, you are protected under Title VII. There’s also the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII, which explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy or related medical conditions.
Navigating pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can be challenging, but understanding your rights and taking proactive steps is crucial. If you believe you were fired due to pregnancy, document the circumstances and seek legal guidance to better understand how to protect your rights.