According to the Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, it is illegal to discriminate anyone at the workplace based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical issues. This form of discrimination constitutes sexual harassment. The employment law Act is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits race, national origin, color, sex, and age discrimination.
A newborn is a blessing to you and your family. However, some employers can see this as a threat to their business. Such employers may intentionally create a hostile work environment to expectant mothers and moms that have recently given birth.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers from treating pregnant women and new mothers differently from other employees. Moreover, federal law states that if an employee has a disability caused by childbirth, pregnancy, or related medical conditions, she should be treated as a disabled worker. This means the employee should be accorded employment insurance or leave plans like other disabled workers as stipulated in disability discrimination laws.
What Does Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination Entail?
Some of the actions that constitute workplace pregnancy discrimination include:
- Firing a pregnant employee
- Refusing to employ an expectant mother
- Refusing to reinstate an employee that has just returned from pregnancy leave to their former position
- Denying a pregnant worker accommodation when she cannot perform some of her responsibilities, for example, tasks that require heavy lifting
- Denying a male worker health insurance cover for his spouse’s pregnancy and related health conditions
Must Employers Allow Maternity Leave?
According to Georgia state law, maternity leave is not mandatory. However, if you or your spouse qualify for maternity leave as stipulated under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you are entitled to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to look after your baby. To qualify for the leave, you must:
- Be working in a company that has 50 or more employees
- Have worked in the firm for at least a year
The FMLA further points out that while on maternity leave, your health benefits and job should remain secured until you return to work.
Moreover, if you suffered complications or disability during childbirth or pregnancy, you may qualify for accommodation, which can include medical leave as stipulated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
How to File a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit
If you live in Atlanta, you’ll have to file a complaint with the local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) first before filing a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
You should file a complaint within 180 days of the discriminatory act happening. This time is meant to give the EEOC to investigate the claim before giving you the go-ahead to file a lawsuit.
After filing a lawsuit, you’ll need to prove that the discrimination occurred because you were pregnant or a new mother. The recourse you will be given will depend on the evidence and facts forming your case.
How an Attorney Can Help
Hiring experienced employment discrimination law attorneys is your best course of action when dealing with pregnancy discrimination cases. The discrimination lawyers will evaluate your case, provide legal advice, and guide you on the legal steps to take against your employer. Hire a reputable law firm like HKM Employment Attorneys to help you win.