Fort Lauderdale Employment Discrimination Attorneys Seek Fair Treatment for Pregnant Women
Why do employers discriminate against pregnant women?
Pregnancy discrimination is unpleasant or unequal treatment by an employer toward an employee because she is pregnant. Congress amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in 1978 to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The PDA restricts employers from treating pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions differently from other disabilities.
Below are some of the main reasons employers discriminate against pregnant women:
- Employers do not want to spend the time or resources necessary to train an employee if he or she knows that the pregnant employee can take up to 12 weeks’ medical leave for labor and recovery.
- Employers do not want to incur the costs of training a replacement employee for the 12-week period the pregnant employee can take off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- While the pregnant employee is on FMLA leave, an employer is not permitted permanently to fill the position of the absent worker. The same job or an equivalent job must be waiting for the employee when she returns to work.
- Employers fear lack of focus and commitment to the job after an employee has a baby.
- Some employers still subscribe to outdated notions amounting to gender discrimination, believing the myth that pregnant women cannot be as productive as other employees.
Can a pregnant woman be fired for no reason?
No. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, a woman cannot be fired because she is pregnant or becomes pregnant as long as she can perform the essential functions of the job. Even if the company believes that there are potential risks of harm to an unborn child, such as lead exposure, if the company fully informs the worker of the risks, it is ultimately that person’s decision if to continue working. The employer cannot use your pregnancy as an excuse to fire you.
If you were fired from a job for becoming pregnant or revealing that you were pregnant, you may be entitled to a Family and Medical Leave Act claim.
What are the rules for FMLA?
Employees qualify for FMLA leave if they work for a company with more than 50 employees within 75 miles of the workplace. Federal, state and local government workers also qualify. Employees must have worked at the company for at least 12 months. They also must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year.
Employees can use FMLA for their pregnancy any time they choose during the duration of the pregnancy and up to one year after the birth or adoption of a child. The FMLA requires employees to request leave at least 30 days before taking it.
If you have been denied any of the rights protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may have a pregnancy discrimination claim. Contact a trusted employment lawyer in Fort Lauderdale to discuss your options.
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