Brad Nakase, Labor Law Attorney
My wife had our first bun in the oven shortly after we were married. Then we had our second bun in the oven. My wife nesting at home and had the fastest trigger-finger on the iPad shopping Amazon Prime.
Aspirations to have a successful career and aspirations to start a family should not be mutually exclusive. Pregnancy discrimination law allow women to make family planning decisions without worrying about how a pregnancy will impact their career.
Federal laws against pregnancy discrimination include:
- EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978)
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act (for some pregnancy-related health issues)
California also provides pregnant people with additional protections, like:
- Fair Employment and Housing Act
- California’s Pregnancy Disability Leave
- California Family Rights Act
What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?
All of the above pregnancy discrimination laws have the goal of ensuring pregnant employees are not treated differently to other employees. They also ensure that pregnant employees receive the health and leave concessions they need for the physically demanding task of growing a baby.
The employee’s pregnancy cannot be a factor or seem to be a factor in employment decisions. If it is, the pregnant employee would have a pregnancy discrimination case. It can also be considered pregnancy discrimination if an employer asks questions about the pregnancy status of an employee, their ability to get pregnant, whether they are planning to get pregnant, or any other child or pregnancy-related questions.
Pregnancy discrimination includes factoring the employee’s pregnancy status or ability to get pregnant into any of the following:
- Hiring decisions
- Firing/lay off decisions
- Promotion decisions
- Withholding compensation or benefits, including health insurance
- Withholding any eligible leave
- Job assignment decisions
- Refusing to train
- Treating married pregnant employees differently to unmarried pregnant employees
- Forcing leave of absences
- Pregnancy-related stereotypes or slurs
- Denying reasonable requests for accommodation or eligible leave
- Requiring an employee to become sterilized
What Protections Do Employees Have Under Pregnancy Discrimination Laws?
Pregnancy discrimination laws are there to protect pregnant people from negative employment action as well as harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pregnancy harassment is considered a form of sexual harassment. Pregnancy is also considered a form of temporary disability, meaning employers must make reasonable accommodations and provide leave to those recovering from pregnancy-related health conditions.
Pregnancy discrimination laws ensure that all employees are treated equally, regardless of their pregnancy status and ability to get pregnant.
How Much Can I Recover in a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit?
The value of a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit will vary depending on the type of pregnancy discrimination you suffered and what it cost you. The best way to determine how much damages you can claim is to consult a pregnancy discrimination attorney. They will be able to examine your case and give you a ballpark figure for compensation.
Pregnancy discrimination cases receive $22.4 million in compensation every year, according to the EEOC. This figure continues to rise as employees learn more about their rights. Please contact our employment attorney for a free consultation.