Is Pregnancy Discrimination Increasing At Work?
Decades ago, many employers were hesitant to hire or employ women of a certain age out of concern that they may get pregnant and leave the position to stay at home and raise children. Even if a new mother opted to keep working, employers often believed their focus would be elsewhere or that they would otherwise be incapable of performing the same job duties as men could. In addition, many employers forced pregnant women to take unpaid maternity leave early in their pregnancy even though they were perfectly capable of working, often citing that the pregnancy could be a distraction or danger. In response to the widespread and unjustified discrimination against pregnant women in the workforce, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978, which included pregnancy under the category of prohibited sex discrimination under Title VII.
The laws in the United States aim to protect pregnant women from discrimination in interviews, hiring, promotions, harassment, or other employment situations. However, recent information has shown that perhaps pregnancy anti-discrimination has not come as far as one would imagine in other parts of the world.
According to news sources, pregnant women in the United Kingdom have been increasingly seeking advice from non-profit organizations regarding discrimination, harassment, and other unfair treatment in the workplace. In fact, there has been a 25 percent increase in women reporting they were forced out of work or had their hours drastically decreased after they became pregnant.
Even though the recent reports of increased discrimination based on pregnancy or motherhood came from the UK, this type of discrimination still occurs in workplaces throughout the United States, as well. If an employer violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in any way, an employee has the legal right to seek compensation and other legal remedies. Some of the common ways the Act can be violated include the following:
- Asking about pregnancy, plans for pregnancy, or current children in an interview;
- Refusing to hire or promote a woman because she is pregnant or appears to be pregnant;
- Refusing to hire or promote a woman because she has children or plans to have children;
- Harassment of a pregnant woman or mother regarding her pregnancy or familial situation to the point it creates a hostile work environment;
- Terminating a woman because she is pregnant;
- Terminating or otherwise retaliating against a woman for taking Family and Medical Leave associated with a pregnancy or childbirth.
These are only some of the scenarios that may constitute unlawful pregnancy discrimination and any pregnant woman who believes she has been treated unfairly or unlawfully by an employer should not hesitate to contact an experienced employment discrimination lawyer as soon as possible to discuss her rights.
Consult With A Florida Employment Lawyer Today
Robert S. Norell is a Florida employment lawyer committed to standing up for the rights of employees who have suffered unlawful discrimination at work. If you think your employer may have violated any anti-discrimination or labor laws on the state or federal level, please call our office for help at 305-405-9243.