Protection on Pregnancy Discrimination
By: Adriane Lauren Luna
Discrimination due to one’s age, religion, gender, color or place of origin is specifically proscribed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Now because of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it has been amended by the Congress to include Pregnancy Discrimination.
Before the amendment, pregnancy discrimination was covered by the former Act’s provisions on sex discrimination. However, there are some provisions that are not applicable. Thus, with the help of the amendment, unfair treatment because of an employee’s pregnancy is specifically covered and protected by the said law.
The Act specifically mandates the employer to treat their pregnant employees in the same way they treat their regular employees. Moreover, the law prohibits the employers and business owners to do acts, which would prejudice expecting employees. These acts include:
1. Termination – the employer cannot terminate the employee for no other legal ground. Pregnancy is not a valid reason to fire an employee especially when she can still perform her job effectively.
2. Refusal to hire – an employer cannot refuse to hire a person simply because she is pregnant. When there is no other valid reason for the refusal and as long as she is qualified for the job regardless of her condition, then refusing to hire her is an actionable wrong;
3. Refusal to promote – career advancement is every employee’s aim.
4. Suspension – Suspension of employees on account of their pregnancy will hold the employee liable under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act;
5. Deprivation of Maternity Leave – employees especially need maternity leave when they are about to deliver the child and after delivery. Depriving them of maternity leave constitutes discrimination;
6. Deprivation of Vacation Leave – any regular employee has a right to a vacation leave. Depriving an employee this benefit solely on account of her condition is actionable; and
7. Deprivation of Fringe Benefits – benefits related to pregnancy, which are being offered to single employees, should also be made available to married employees. Also, pregnant women must be treated the same way as employees on leave or on temporary disability.
It should be noted that the Act does not prohibit the employers from making special treatments to pregnant workers. What the law disallows is the act of discriminating and prejudicing them. What the law provides is a floor and not a ceiling requirement.
Labor and Employment Attorneys find out that more and more female employees, especially the high-level executives, are getting kicked out of their jobs by reason of their pregnancy.
In fact, studies made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission showed a 31% increase on pregnancy discrimination complaints filed over the last decade.
The Commission cites several reasons why there is an increase on pregnancy discrimination claims. Some of these reasons are:
1. More women became members of the work force
2. More women became aware of their employment rights
3. Corporations are downsizing and laying-off employees
If you feel that you have been discriminated by your employer or co-employees because of your pregnancy, you should get the services of a Labor and Employment Attorney.
Our vigilant pregnancy discrimination lawyers are expert in handling work-related pregnancy disputes and other employment issues. You can consult with our Los Angeles lawyers by logging on to our official website and avail of our free case evaluation service.
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