In the United States women currently, represent 47% of the nation’s workforce. These women dominate the physical therapy, speech therapy, and social work industries,s with their numbers expected to increase. Perhaps most importantly, 70% of women in the workforce have children under the age of 18 and 40% of these women are the primary or sole income source in their household. For these women, the reality of discrimination is something that they cannot afford to ignore, making pregnancy discrimination a growing concern in Colorado for many women and their families.
Subtle but Dangerous
The state of Colorado made history in 2016 for expanding existing pregnancy discrimination law. The new law increased protections offered to pregnant employees and improved upon existing federal law. Unfortunately, women in Colorado continue to experience discrimination that is often subtle but dangerous. While most believe all discrimination is obvious, threatening, or in some cases violent, women in the workplace are subjected to casual observations about their pregnancy being a distraction. Employers unapologetically commit pregnancy discrimination by constantly comparing pregnant women unfavorably to other employees solely because they are pregnant.
In spite of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act promising dire consequences to employers who discriminate against pregnant women, anti-pregnancy bias continues to affect women throughout the state. Colorado-based AT&T Mobility is currently involved in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit that was filed in May 2018. Filed on behalf of all non-managerial female employees nationwide, the lawsuit claims that pregnant employees were targeted using the company’s attendance policy after providing documentation that late attendance was caused by pregnancy-related illness. Women who went on maternity leave claim that they were fired shortly after returning to work in a possibly retaliatory manner.
Who is Hurt
Women who are considering having children or who appear to be of child-bearing age are at the greatest risk of being hurt professionally and financially by pregnancy discrimination. A Colorado woman was told her decision to have children influenced the company’s decision to deny her a promotion on the basis that her children should be her primary concern. Other women have been told not to return to their jobs after going on maternity leave. This discrimination harms families that depend on that income source and creates employment gaps that cause difficulties for women trying to obtain jobs after having children.
Protect Your Rights
Colorado employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations during their pregnancies as well as protection from retaliation. However, some employers continue their discriminatory practices, denying employment to pregnant women or finding ways to fire employees after they become pregnant. If you or someone close to you is a victim of pregnancy discrimination, is important to take steps to protect your legal rights.
The attorneys at HKM Employment are able to provide you with the aggressive legal representation that you deserve. We work with you to obtain a resolution that compensates you for any hardships your employer’s discrimination has caused. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation at our conveniently located Denver, Colorado office so that we can begin discussing your needs.