What You Need To Know About Pregnancy Discrimination Law

If you're concerned that you might have been fired or may soon be fired due to a pregnancy, it can feel extremely unjust. Pregnancy discrimination seems like it should be a thing of the past, but it's alive and well in the 21st century. This is despite the fact that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed into law by the U.S. Congress in 1978. You may be wondering, though, what you can do about the situation.

Document Everything

One of the hardest aspects of any discrimination case is establishing that a discriminatory act happened and that it was the basis of a firing. Any communications, such as texts, emails, and memos, that indicate that your employer was unhappy with you working while pregnant should be preserved and copied. Make sure you have a copy of all published company policies, such as handbooks and manuals, too.

If possible, you should also try to document how non-pregnant employees were treated under similar circumstances. For example, how was someone else treated when they had to take medical leave? This may be used to demonstrate that a pregnant employee was treated differently.

Understand the Filing Process

A person who suspects they've been discriminated against due to pregnancy is required to contact either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or their state's equivalent administrative agency first. You will then be given instructions on how to bring a formal complaint. Failing to do this is grounds for any later lawsuit to be dismissed, so don't take the filing rules lightly.

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, any organization with 15 or more employees is subject to its regulations. This can create problems for people who work for small businesses, but many states have filled the gap by having lower requirements for total employees.

Note Differences in Work Benefits

While firing is often the greatest concern in these situations, there may also be issues with work benefits. In particular, discrimination can take the form of reassigning workers to get them to quit. Generally, a re-assignment is considered discriminatory if it is not similar to ones given for other medical reasons. For example, a person with a broken arm might be assigned to light duty. If this is normal within a company, it's likely not discriminatory.

Credits for seniority, vacation days and pay bumps may also be sources of discrimination. Keep notes of any apparent discrepancies in work-related benefits you can identify. For more information about pregnancy discrimination, contact an attorney.