Are you looking to get pregnant or are you currently pregnant?
In the United States, pregnancy is a highly protected class. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace, including both during the hiring process and during employment for companies with 15 or more employees. If you’re working, it’s important to know your rights to ensure that you are receiving fair treatment in the workplace.
Discrimination comes in many forms. In some cases, discrimination can occur which many victims may not even be aware of without the help of an expert. This sometimes subtle difference in treatment can have a major impact on your professional life which demands a Los Angeles employment lawyer’s experience to protect yourself in cases where discrimination occurs.
Forms of Pregnancy Discrimination
Asking About Your Pregnancy Status
While it may seem like an innocent question on its own, an employer asking you about your pregnancy status – whether you plan to become pregnant or are currently pregnant – may be grounds for discrimination. This includes during the hiring process and while an active employee.
You have no requirement to divulge your pregnancy status, and doing so may subject you to professional discrimination or mistreatment in the workplace because of your status.
If you were asked about your pregnancy status and then had a work change, demotion, or termination, you should consult with an experienced employment lawyer to discuss whether you have been discriminated against due to your pregnancy.
Demotion or Lack of Promotion Due to Pregnancy
When it comes to pregnancy, women often face discrimination in the form of a change in responsibilities or a lack of progress in the workplace. This may happen due to an employer not believing that you are committed to your job enough to receive a promotion because of upcoming maternity leave. This could also occur in the form of a demotion to try to encourage you to quit or your employer hiring a replacement for a position vacated by an expecting mother.
Opportunity loss can be difficult to prove on its own, which is why it’s crucial to work with an employment lawyer to ensure that you have everything you need to prove your case.
Failure to Provide Leave
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), parents have a right to certain time periods of leave from work without penalty if they meet certain criteria. If you quality for FMLA, during this time, you may not be terminated, have your insurance offerings changed, or face any discrimination upon returning to work due to your leave.
If you or the company do not qualify for FMLA, it is up to the company to provide maternity leave. However, discrimination can still occur if an adverse judgement is given to an expecting mother for maternity leave while a disability or other leave is allowed under similar conditions. Contact Light Law Group for a free consultation if you feel like you’ve faced discrimination in the workplace.