The company you work for may present a positive image of promoting the rights of women, minorities and other protected classes. However, the proof of this image is in the way your employer treats you on the job day-to-day. If you are expecting or have recently given birth, you may be like many women in New York and across the country who are facing discriminatory practices.
Despite the passing of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, many women in all industries still receive unfair treatment simply because they are pregnant. Knowing your rights under the law may help you recognize when you are facing discriminatory behavior so you can take appropriate action.
What does pregnancy discrimination look like?
Whether you are employed in a retail position or you work in the world of high finance, you have the right to fair treatment. Nevertheless, you may be one of thousands of women each year who contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with complaints about discrimination due to their pregnancies. Some of the discriminatory acts include these and others:
- An employer fires you or lays you off after learning of your pregnancy.
- Your company overlooks you for a promotion you are due and for which you are well qualified.
- Your employer subjects you to special tests to prove you are able to perform your work.
- Your employer creates a hostile environment for you if a pregnancy-related medical condition requires you to request special accommodations.
- Your company increases your insurance deductible or cancels your insurance because of your pregnancy.
- Your employer refuses to take you back in your previous capacity after your family leave.
These are only a few examples, and you may even have difficulty deciding if your treatment is related to your pregnancy. It is a good idea to keep a careful and accurate log of any actions that violate your rights and to collect as much evidence as possible, such as emails or memos. You will have 180 days to start your claim with the EEOC.
Filing a claim with the EEOC
Once you have contacted the EEOC and answered the preliminary questions, you may submit your inquiry, which is the first step to filing a charge. The EEOC will contact you for an interview, and from there, you can decide if you want to move forward with legal action against your employer.
It may seem like a complex process, but with legal counsel at your side, you will have someone to guide you. Taking action to defend your right to a fair work environment during your pregnancy will not only benefit you, it will send a message to your employer that discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable.