As a pregnant employee, you deserve to be treated with respect and granted the benefits prescribed by law to assist pregnant women in the workplace, such as the right to family and medical leave. Sadly, there are instances in which not only are these rights not observed, but a pregnant employee is further discriminated against by her employer. Employers or managers could assign your work to another employee, or make your working conditions unpleasant or unsafe in an effort to minimize your role in the company, or ultimately to get you to resign. It may also happen that you are denied a promotion or a raise due to your pregnancy. Any type of discrimination due to pregnancy is illegal and if you are experiencing this type of unfair treatment, you should speak to a Portland employment lawyer right away.
Many laws, on both the federal and state level, include provisions that protect employees against discrimination based on their pregnancy status. On the federal level, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act – which is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – provides the most comprehensive coverage, because it prohibits pregnancy discrimination (by employers with 15 or more employees) in any aspect of employment.
Some illegal acts specifically listed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its provisions include:
- Refusing to hire a woman due to pregnancy
- Firing or causing to resign due to pregnancy
- Firing for the decision to have an abortion
- Denying a promotion or instigating a demotion due on pregnancy
- Harassment because of pregnancy or childbirth (or a related condition)
- Removal of accrued retirement benefits upon pregnancy
- Refusing paid maternity leave
- Denying family and medical leave
Other federal laws also protect employees against pregnancy discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you or someone you know has suffered from a medical impairment related to a pregnancy (such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia), that condition may be considered a disability under the ADA. As such, your employer would likely be required to provide a reasonable accommodation for that disability, such as time off or workplace modifications that enable you to perform your job.
Oregon also has state laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy status. The main civil rights law (ORS 659a) prohibits any discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes pregnancy status. Unlike the Civil Rights Act, which only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, Oregon’s state employment discrimination act protects anyone whose employer has one or more employees. Furthermore, the Oregon Family Leave Act – in conjunction with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act – entitle pregnant employees’ to take 12 weeks of leave time, and protect their jobs if they choose to take the time off.
If you have faced a problem, while pregnant, in relation to your employment rights, it is essential to have an attorney who understands the complexities of the federal and state laws. Our dedicated attorneys can help guide you, and will help protect your rights.
Portland Employment Law Attorney
If your workplace rights are being violated in relation to your pregnancy, consult with the legal team at HKM Employment Attorneys. We can help you to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or take any appropriate steps to pursue the outcome you desire. Additionally, our firm can provide insightful defense for companies accused of discrimination due to pregnancy. We understand that what may be construed as such is in no way an actual act of discrimination and will fight to defend your rights and your firm.
If you have been subject to discrimination based on pregnancy, or have been accused of such discrimination, contact a Portland pregnancy discrimination attorney.