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Male boss discriminating pregnant woman at work

Pregnancy Discrimination Examples In The Workplace

There are many types of injustices you can face in a workplace such as ageism, racism, and disability bias. Another example of discrimination that mainly females experience in the workplace includes pregnancy discrimination.

Such injustice can affect applicants applying for a job or employees already in a stable role. You must know different pregnancy discrimination examples to identify this injustice at your workplace.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go any further for this information. Let’s look at the top pregnancy discrimination examples in the workplace.

What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

A definition post on what is pregnancy discrimination

About 20% of working women state that they face pregnancy discrimination at their workplace. This injustice refers to the unfair treatment of female employees due to their pregnancy.

The discrimination can occur in direct form by a company. For instance, your workplace may reduce your salary after learning about your pregnancy.

Pregnancy discrimination examples may also be indirect such as making pregnant employees work specific hours or overtime.

The main feature of discrimination is that you will suffer from unfair behavior at your workplace. This injustice may be done by your colleagues, senior managers, or employers.

A Brief Overview Of The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

An infographic explaining the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 protects female employees from facing injustices due to their pregnancy. For instance, the law prevents companies from firing workers unjustly because of their pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical conditions.

A key feature of this act is that it refers to pregnancy as a temporary illness. This means the workplace shouldn’t treat pregnant employees any differently than they would treat a person with common cold.

The PDA also requires pregnant workers to receive suitable accommodations for their condition. It also protects pregnant applicants through specific rules such as:

  • Hiring managers cannot ask about an applicant’s pregnancy status
  • It is illegal to ask applicants if they plan on having children

Despite that, many workplaces still engage in pregnancy discrimination.

Top 3 Pregnancy Discrimination Cases Won

Many pregnancy discrimination examples lead to people filing cases against their employers. The good news is that many individuals have received victories in their pregnancy discrimination lawsuits.

Here are the top three pregnancy lawsuits that ended up in victories:

1.   Latowski V. Northwoods Nursing Center

An assistant at a nursing center was told to provide the workplace with a doctor’s note stating she has no working restrictions due to pregnancy. Jennifer Latowski couldn’t submit such a note to her workplace. The company unjustly terminated her because of this reason.

Upon filing a case against the nursing center, the EEOC found the company guilty of discriminating against pregnant workers.

2.   EEOC V. HCS Medical Staffing

The EEOC filed a case against HCS Medical Staffing in 2012 for firing an employee, Roxy Leger unjustly. Leger was recovering from a C-section at a hospital when her job was terminated without probable grounds.

A court letter was sent to the workplace to which the EEOC didn’t receive a response. So the court gave a default judgment in favor of Roxy Leger.

3.   EEOC V. Houston Funding

Houston Funding fired a worker because she was lactating in the workplace. Termination due to such acts comes under sex and pregnancy discrimination examples.

This is why the EEOC won a case against Houston Funding in 2013 for discrimination.

What Is The Average Settlement For Pregnancy Discrimination?

A post answering what is the average settlement for pregnancy discrimination

The average settlement for pregnancy discrimination may range from $10,000 to $50,000 in most US states. This figure can vary significantly depending on the case type and state.

For instance, some pregnancy discrimination lawsuits may receive a verdict of $1 million in compensation for victims. Consulting a workplace discrimination lawyer can help you understand the worth of your case.

Top 7 Pregnancy Discrimination Examples In The Workplace

An infographic on the pregnancy discrimination examples at work

Let’s look at the top pregnancy discrimination examples in the workplace to help you:

1.   Refusal To Hire

One of the top pregnancy discrimination examples is not receiving a job due to your condition. Your baby bump may be visible in an interview which can lead to the company being aware of your pregnancy.

The hiring manager may refuse to hire you despite your qualifications. This is a prime example of pregnancy discrimination that many female applicants complain about.

Remember according to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, recruiters cannot ask you questions about pregnancy. If they do so, they’re violating the federal law which allows you to file a case against them.

If a recruiter asks you several questions about pregnancy or having children in the future, they may be engaging in a bias. This is a clear indicator of pregnancy discrimination, so be sure to notice such signs.

2.   Lack Of Reasonable Accommodations

The federal law encourages workplaces to offer reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. A key feature of the PDA is that pregnancy must be seen as any other temporary illness.

This means if a workplace is assigning an employee light duties due to a condition such as fever, they should offer a pregnant employee similar accommodations. That is because a workplace must not distinguish temporary illnesses.

Another example of a reasonable accommodation is altering your working hours around morning sickness signs. As long as the accommodation is reasonable, a company must offer it under federal law.

Despite that, most workplaces don’t offer any type of accommodation to pregnant employees. They may also make things harder by burdening the worker with overtime or heavy-duty tasks.

3.   Termination Due To Pregnancy

When you encounter different pregnancy discrimination examples, you’ll notice termination to be a common case. Many companies fire pregnant employees without probable reasons.

They may engage in wrongful termination in specific ways such as:

  • Firing workers who recently gave birth and are recovering in a hospital
  • Eliminating an employee’s position a few days or months before their delivery
  • Firing working mothers after giving them maternity leave

If a company fires you because you’re pregnant or have given birth recently, they are violating the PDA. This means you can hold them liable in court by filing a complaint with the EEOC.

Companies that are found guilty of wrongful termination due to pregnancy discrimination examples must offer financial compensation.

4.   Hindering Promotion Because Of Pregnancy

Many senior managers believe pregnant women or working mothers are not suitable for promotions. That is because they perceive their children would hinder them from performing their work tasks with high efficiency.

If your workplace passes you for a promotion by giving it to another less qualified employee, you may see it as a sign of pregnancy discrimination. The company may use excuses such as you not being a good fit for a senior role or other reasons.

The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for workplaces to refuse to promote pregnant workers. If you notice such discrimination signs, you may have a viable claim against the company.

5.   Not Providing A Place To Pump Breast Milk

Pregnancy discrimination examples may include indirect forms of bias such as the workplace not offering a pumping space. Lactation is a common act during and after pregnancies.

As per the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a workplace must offer pregnant employees:

  • An unpaid lactation break
  • A private space in the office for pumping milk

It is also important for the private space to be different than a bathroom and free from other non-pregnant coworkers. Remember this law mainly covers workplaces with more than 50 employees.

If your workplace falls under this category and refuses to offer a private space, you may file a complaint against them.

6.   Verbal Harassment

Pregnancy discrimination examples also include verbal harassment cases. Your colleagues may pass negative comments against you due to your baby bump or other pregnancy-related changes.

A senior manager may also call you with different demeaning names to decrease your confidence. Such types of harassment may range from minor negative comments to the use of harsh or abusive language.

Any worker or manager who engages in verbal harassment can be found guilty of pregnancy discrimination. Remember to record harassment incidents by writing details on a paper every time.

This can help you file a complaint with the EEOC and provide evidence against pregnancy discrimination examples easily.

7.   Retaliating After Filing A Pregnancy Discrimination Claim

Many employees are afraid of filing internal complaints against pregnancy discrimination examples in their company. That is because employers may retaliate after they receive news about a complaint from the HR department.

In the US, federal and state laws prevent employers from taking adverse actions against workers who file discrimination claims. These actions include:

  • Firing
  • Demotion
  • Transfer
  • Workload increase
  • Promotion denial
  • False negative performance reviews

A company cannot take these actions against people who file discrimination complaints. If they do so, you may sue them legally.


How Common Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination is quite common in the US as 1 out of every 5 workers complains of such injustice. Mothers on maternity leave also experience pregnancy discrimination examples.

What Led To The Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

Workplaces engaging in unfair treatment of pregnant employees led to the passing of the PDA. This act protects such workers from injustices such as denial of promotions and wrongful terminations.

How Can We Prevent Pregnancy Discrimination?

Spreading awareness about pregnancy discrimination examples in workplaces may help employees adjust their behavior. Filing cases against this injustice may also set examples for other workplaces about the consequences of engaging in pregnancy discrimination.

What Are The Effects Of Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination may affect a worker financially if they lose their job or experience a salary cut. Employees may also experience mental stress due to harassment incidents at the company.

Contact An Attorney To Deal With Pregnancy Discrimination At Work

This is all you must know about pregnancy discrimination examples in the workplace. Many companies engage in this bias by firing workers once they go on maternity leave or lactation breaks.

If you’re suffering from pregnancy discrimination examples at your company, hiring a lawyer may help you. An attorney can determine the worth of your case and fight against your employer.

So contact us today to learn more about starting a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit in Florida.

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