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Questions about Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

What are my rights if I informed my employer that I was pregnant and got laid off?

Discrimination against pregnancy is considered illegal. Federal and many state laws are against discrimination based on pregnancy, child birth or related medical conditions. Federal law applies to employers with fifteen or more employees. There are many forms of pregnancy discrimination. Actions from employers based on pregnancy discrimination include: refusing to hire a pregnant applicant, firing or demoting a pregnant employee, denying the same or similar job when they return from a pregnancy related leave, and treating the pregnant employee differently than other employees. If an employee has faced any of the above, she may have a case for wrongful termination and/or pregnancy discrimination and can consider suing the employer. However, the employee may also have to prove conclusively that the action taken by the employer was a direct act of discrimination and was because of the pregnancy and not any other work or performance related issue that does not constitute discrimination. This can be tricky to prove and can result in many legal questions like the ones answered below.

If someone feels as if they are being discriminated against due to pregnancy what should they do?

It is always wise to follow the chain of command. If a co-worker is the one discriminating, then you should speak to you supervisor as the first step. On the other hand if discrimination is by the supervisor, then you would need to speak to the executive director or someone in senior management. If no action is taken, then you may want to consider filing a complaint with the local EEOC office and state that you believe you are being discriminated against because of the pregnancy. If applicable, you may also want to state that the harassment has resulted in a hostile work environment.

If it is standard policy for all employees of a specific company to have a certain vaccine in order to be employed, is it discrimination if a pregnant person cannot have the vaccine and is terminated for not receiving the vaccine?

During pregnancy, many vaccines are not safe to take and in many situations the employer should not be able to terminate employment because of refusal to take the vaccine for medical reasons. Many times this may be considered a form of discrimination. The employee in this case may have a legitimate reason to contact the EEOC for more investigation. The employer should not single someone out to have a procedure that could harm the health of their baby. If there is a doctor’s note showing that the mother should not get this vaccine, and the refusal to take the vaccine would not affect the ability to work, the employer should abide by the request and protect them and others from possible infection. Also, you may need to speak to an employment attorney to protect yourself in this issue, just in case there is any retaliation or if you were to be terminated because of the EEOC investigation.

In the state of Alabama if a company has less than fifteen employers can an employee file a EECO claim for pregnancy discrimination?

The federal law protects employees that work for employers with 15 or more employees. If your employer has less than 15 employees, then a pregnant employee may not have a legitimate case for pregnancy discrimination and may not be able to file a claim with EECO.

If someone is pregnant and unemployed, can she receive disability benefits?

State Disability Insurance Benefits are available to all forms of disabilities that prevent a person from working full-time. If a person is considered disabled because of pregnancy then she would normally be eligible for state disability benefits. However, if she is not currently employed, then she should be looking for employment at the time the application is filled out. Informing the investigator that you are taking time off or that you are out of town visiting family, etc., can result in a denial of benefits. Instances of discrimination are never easy to prove. When you face pregnancy discrimination, it can be quite an unsettling experience and can lead to uncertainty about your legal standing. If you feel you are getting discriminated against, you should consider seeking professional help or legal inputs and insights from Experts in Employment Law.

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 8063
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
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Recent Pregnancy Discrimination Questions

  • I am contracted by an employer to provide social work services

    I am contracted by an employer to provide social work services to a military base. My contractor notified me that the military base has asked for a replacement for me after 2 years of working there with 3 more years on the contract. I have been asked to leave my position by the military clinic because I was out sick for a few days and my documentation was delayed due to being out sick. I have a doctors note. I have never had any disciplinary action or corrective performance action. My contract calls for 60 days notice and/or payment if immediate termination. I am 54 years old and must start again. Jill
  • I am a small business owner in CA. I have three full time

    I am a small business owner in CA. I have three full time employees, and until recently one contractor.
    This issue is regarding a full blown CA EDD audit due to the classification of a contractor. My question will be specific. Just over 1.5 years ago I hired the wife of a friend for temp work while she found an internship ( had just graduated from grad school ).
    At the time of hire, and on two other occasions, I offered to hire her as a W2 or let her know she could transition to a W2. She refused, and although she stayed with me just over a year, was actively looking for an internship. 3 months ago, I had to end the contract, and she claimed unemployment. The next thing I know, the EDD is gunning for me, and I am learning about employers that abuse contractor status.
    She worked regular hours at my office, always onsite. Even though she was there over a year, the understanding was that it was temporary, and she was looking for other work.
    Now the EDD is auditing me to see if I am misclassifying my employees to avoid taxes etc. Absolutely not the case. I even have correspondence asking her to convert to w2, which she would not do - she will sign a statement to that effect as well. Everything I have read is about bad employers using contractors to cheat the state, abuse employees etc. This is the opposite, she refused to become a W2 and will admit that.
    The question: in your opinion, does the fact the contractor refused to become a w2, despite being offered full employment several times ( refusal based on contractor waiting to land internship as psychologist ) help me satisfy the edd's concern. Or will the EDD find that irrelevant and say the fact I offered her to be a w2, and she worked at my office, meant I should made her an employee no matter what and me not doing so was misclassfying.
    She was offered employment, and refused.
    Thank you
  • I feel that I was fired because I did not participate in all

    I feel that I was fired because I did not participate in all the extracurricular things the other white men in my office did like fantasy football, poker games, dinners out etc. I was told I wasn't a team player yet was told my work was always outstanding. The reason I was given was unprofessional behavior. They could not bring up any specific incident that had happened in the last year. My reviews were always exeplary and I always received raises and bonuses. While I am white, I am not part of the "boys club" atmosphere and was passed over several times for promotions that went to less capable candidates ( I had to train them)! Is this a basis for discrimination? I am in SC.
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