In today’s world, employment opportunity is supposed to be equal for everyone. Many women delay getting pregnant because they are concerned about its effect on their career. For those who do choose to have a child, many of them face hardships and discrimination from their employer. Some are even fired for it. Wrongful termination lawyers can help someone who has been wrongfully terminated.
A company in Milwaukee had to pay $150,000 after a judge ruled an employee was wrongfully terminated for taking maternity leave. Sadly, many women either don’t know their rights or where to begin to fight back. Some even find themselves in homeless shelters after being fired.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an extension of the Civil Rights Act. It states that an employer can’t discriminate against an employee for being pregnant. If she is not able to perform certain duties, she may need to be placed on light duty or provided other accommodation(s). If she must stop working for a medical reason, she must be treated like anyone else with a temporary disability. Employers must treat the pregnant employee in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. The law gives pregnant women and those who have recently given birth the same protections as anyone else with a temporary illness or disability.
The Real World
Wrongful termination lawyers see this sort of discrimination on a regular basis. Despite the law, many employers either try to get around the law or ignore it altogether. Pregnancy discrimination includes employers:
- Refusing to hire someone due to pregnancy
- Firing or demoting someone due to pregnancy
- Treating a pregnant employee differently than someone with similar physical limitations
- Not giving an employee the same or equivalent job upon return from maternity leave
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers protection to employees who need to take off work for a serious medical condition, for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a family member. To qualify for FMLA, the employee must have worked for the company for a year, and the company must have more than fifty employees. FMLA entitles male and female employees to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave, and they can’t be fired or demoted for taking it.
Awareness about this type of discrimination is the first step to stopping it.