Employers cannot discriminate against a female employee based on her pregnancy. The law protects women against such kind of discrimination in all employment aspects including interview, recruitment, termination, and promotions. While employers are required to provide unpaid parental leave and embrace earned sick policies, a lot of workplaces don’t give paid parental or maternity leave unless required by company policies or handbooks. Thankfully, victims of pregnancy discrimination can rely on an Austin Employee Discrimination Lawyer for legal help.
Understanding Pregnancy Discrimination
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), employers must treat workers who cannot work because of pregnancy equally with employees who cannot work temporarily for other reasons. Also, the federal law prohibits employers from having discriminatory practices like terminating pregnant employees, refusing to recruit a female job applicant due to their pregnancy, and other similar practices.
How Pregnancy Discrimination is Practiced at Work
The PDA can be violated at any time of the employment cycle. The following are examples of pregnancy discrimination:
- Refusal to hire. It is unlawful for employers not to hire a woman because of her pregnancy. This also applies for a pregnant worker who wishes to be placed in a different position within the same company. A lot of employers justify their refusal to hire by saying they want an employee to work long-term.
- Harassment. In some workplaces, pregnant employees are subjected to a hostile environment. In such places, they get insults, assaults, threats, offensive comments, and threats that interfere with their ability to do their work. A pregnant employee may be discriminated against by her co-worker, superior, business partner, or anybody else they come in contact with while they are at work.
- Promotion denial. Sometimes, employees do not consider a pregnant employee for promotion. Others demote a pregnant worker to a job that they find less stressful or even force them to take some time off of work. But no matter the employer’s intentions, it is not lawful.
- Refusal to provide reasonable accommodation. Every pregnant worker should get the same workplace accommodations as others who have temporary disabilities. Employers who refuse to give them reasonable accommodation are practicing discrimination in the workplace.
- Retaliation. Some pregnant women can also be a victim of retaliation from their bosses. Retaliation occurs when a pregnant woman opposes discrimination against them or file a discrimination lawsuit.
If you think you have been discriminated against by your employer because of your pregnancy, you can file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An experienced discrimination attorney can help you file such a charge and guide you through the investigation process of the EEOC.