Becoming pregnant is a life-altering moment that should be celebrated by friends, family, and coworkers. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, many pregnant women find themselves being subjected to discriminatory actions after they inform their employers that they are pregnant. In 1997, close to 4,000 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state and local Fair Employment Practices agencies, according to Fortune.com. You would think that number dropped significantly over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, in fiscal year 2013, the total of pregnancy discrimination claims spiked to 5,342 in total.
If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your pregnancy, you may have a claim for pregnancy discrimination.
What is Pregnancy Discrimination?
It is quite normal to assume that pregnancy discrimination only covers a situation in which a woman is pregnant with a baby. It is not limited to only this instance, though. It also covers situations in which the woman has given birth to the child. In this instance, there may be discrimination based on the period she needs to fully recover from the effects of childbirth.
When a woman was pregnant but lost the baby, she would also need some time to recover from the effects. If she is not given this period, she may have been discriminated against.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not allow any form of discrimination based on pregnancy in any aspect of employment. The Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee simply because she had a pregnancy or gave birth to a child. The Kansas Human Rights Commision (KHRC) advises that state law also prohibits taking any adverse action against pregnant women, either before or after delivery.
What can Amount to Pregnancy Discrimination?
The KHRC advises that pregnancy discrimination can occur in several ways, such as:
- Refusing to hire a pregnant woman because of concerns over her productivity.
- Paying lesser wages to a woman who had a pregnancy and had to take a few days off for medical appointments.
- Expecting the same level of work as others from a pregnant woman.
- Refusing to pay benefits to a woman on account of pregnancy.
- Reserving positions of seniority for women who are past the age that they can get pregnant or women who have no plans to have a baby.
- Refusing to approve leaves of absence because of earlier absence caused by pregnancy.
- Harassment at the workplace on account of pregnancy-induced absence.
- Taking key responsibilities away from the pregnant woman and transferring them to other persons.
Employer’s Legal Responsibilities
Under the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination statutes, employers have the following duties and legal responsibilities toward pregnant women:
- Responsibility to provide enough time off for pregnancy and childbirth as well as other related medical needs
- Providing reasonable concessions to the pregnant woman in appropriate cases
- Temporarily transferring a pregnant woman to a less demanding position, if possible
If you have been a victim of unfair or unequal treatment because of your pregnancy, you may have a claim for pregnancy discrimination. You need to contact a lawyer as soon as you can. If you do not, you may be putting your career and income at risk.
Speak to a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in Kansas City Today
If you believe you were discriminated against due to your pregnancy by your employer, or while you were applying for a job, take action now and contact HKM Employment Attorneys.