Denver Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) helps ensure that employers do not discriminate against employees or potential employees for reasons including race, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, gender, or other constitutionally protected status. Pregnant women also have protection from discrimination. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or any medical issues related to pregnancy or childbirth.
While employers in the United States are not required to provide paid medical leave for pregnancy, childbirth, and other pregnancy-related medical issues, they must treat pregnant women the same as other temporarily disabled employees under company rules. For example, if a company policy dictates that temporarily disabled employees lose their seniority rights and benefits during extended medical leave, pregnant women should expect the same. Employers can only make leave-related decisions based on a woman’s ability to do her job, not her pregnancy.
Rights Violations in the Workplace
An employer could view a pregnant employee as something of a liability because of the impending need for time off, the potential costs of hiring and training a replacement, and lost productivity. In the past, some employers would require pregnant women to take leave to protect productivity and out of concern for the women’s health. Employers cannot refuse to hire or promote a woman just because she is pregnant. Additionally, employers cannot make assumptions about how a pregnant woman will behave and perform at work after childbirth and make employment decisions based on those assumptions.
If an employer has a “light duty” policy for temporarily disabled employees, the employer must extend that policy to pregnant women requiring light duty as well. Similarly, if an employer only extends light duty provisions to employees who suffer work-related injuries, pregnant women would not have access to those provisions.
Succeeding in a Pregnancy Discrimination Case
Any woman who believes an employer denied employment, denied benefits, or fired her due to her pregnancy can sue the employer under the rules set forth by the EEOC. The EEOC recently announced that pregnancy discrimination is a top priority for the agency, and the EEOC investigates workplace discrimination claims all over the country.
Most pregnancy discrimination cases will touch on state as well as federal laws, and plaintiffs who succeed in their cases can secure compensation for lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering damages for the emotional distress caused by the discrimination, and any other damages resulting from an employer’s discriminatory actions. In most cases, the plaintiff only needs to provide direct proof of pregnancy discrimination, such as an employer stating he or she is hesitant to promote a pregnant woman because he or she is unsure of the pregnant woman’s future availability after giving birth.
In some cases, circumstantial evidence of pregnancy discrimination can be enough to succeed in a claim. This could involve an employer who did not follow typical procedures in a pregnant woman’s situation, made a decision that did not make sense for good business, or otherwise treated the pregnant employee differently than other employees.
Any type of discrimination is wrong, and pregnant women have enough to worry about without having to deal with unjust workplace complications. Reach out to the legal team at Bryan & Terrill for more information about pregnancy discrimination in the Denver area or to discuss a case. One of our attorneys can meet with you in a consultation to determine the viability of your claim and what type of compensation you might expect from a lawsuit.