A woman’s pregnancy should not be grounds for occupational dismissal, stagnant salary, or harassment. Sadly, despite workplace pregnancy discrimination being on the decline over the past few decades, it is still a very real problem for many soon-to-be mothers. Under the Missouri Human Rights Act, pregnancy discrimination, as well as discrimination against parents who are in the process of adoption, is illegal. Additionally, women who have recently given birth are protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which guarantees new mothers a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid time off. During this time, an employer cannot terminate an employee for taking that time off, or reprimand her when she returns to work with a demotion or unfavorable transfer. If you have experienced workplace pregnancy discrimination, you have the right to protect your job and your savings by filing a workplace discrimination claim with an experienced HKM Employment Attorney today.
Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
Under the Missouri Human Rights Act, it is unlawful for an employer to terminate or take any other adverse action against an employee simply for becoming pregnant. Employers may believe that the pregnancy of their employee will interfere with their work, which is a common reason for termination or providing fewer working hours. Regardless of what your employer thinks about your pregnancy, their actions are illegal if they include any of the following regarding your pregnancy status:
- Failure to hire or recruit;
- Firing or laying off;
- Failing to provide equal pay or pay increases;
- Failure to provide benefits or give you your paid or unpaid time off;
- Refusal to promote or give you seniority that you have earned; or
- Transferring you.
Harassment is another aspect of discrimination, and includes physical and verbal threats or assault, abusive language, yelling, intimidation, mockery, and more.
The Family and Medical Leave Act
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), all U.S. employees are admitted benefits and unpaid time off for a variety of reasons, including the birth of a child. Their employer must continue to honor the same group health insurance coverage and employment conditions as they had before their leave. The FMLA provides:
- 12 workweeks of unpaid time off for the birth of a child to care for a newborn within a year of birth; and
- 12 workweeks of unpaid time off for the placement of an adopted child with the employee.
Protect Your Job and Demand Your Rights by Working with an Attorney
Not all employers know their limits when it comes to firing, hiring, and demoting their employees, especially regarding pregnancy status. If your employer has violated the law through discrimination of any kind, they need to be held accountable. Call the St. Louis attorneys of HKM Employment Attorneys LLP for immediate legal assistance and to schedule an appointment today.