Pregnancy Discrimination: ‘We Can’t Hire You Because You’re Pregnant.’

A Virginia woman was offered a job as an engineering logistics analyst for a federal contractor, but when the employer learned she was five months pregnant they rescinded the offer.

Meanwhile, in Long Island, New York, a woman hired by a trailer leasing company was fired a month later after her new employer found out she was 12 weeks pregnant when she started. This came just a week after she was given a glowing review for her first 30 days on the job.

Over in Phoenix, a Subway franchise owner told a job applicant “We can’t hire you because you’re pregnant.” She sued and a jury awarded her punitive damages in her pregnancy discrimination case.

Indeed, pregnant women seeking employment, as well as current employees, are protected from discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The act is an amendment to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Pregnancy discrimination involves treating any woman who is an applicant or an employee unfavorably because of her pregnancy. This also includes a situation where there is an absence due to childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed lawsuits in the above cases and won settlements on behalf of the pregnant women they represented.

The federal contractor in Virginia paid $70,000 to settle its pregnancy discrimination lawsuit; the New York leasing company paid $85,000, the EEOC said. Finally, the Subway franchise owner paid $7,280 in punitive damages, as well as unspecified back pay damages and injunctive relief.

Violations Against Pregnant Women

  • Refusal to hire, failure to promote, demotion, or termination of pregnant workers once it is discovered they are pregnant;
  • The discharge of workers who take medical leave for pregnancy-related conditions for example, a miscarriage;
  • Limits to employment opportunities for pregnant women for “safety concerns.” This includes involuntary leave, limiting their ability to work at a certain point in the pregnancy, reduction of work hours, or limited work assignments;
  • Requiring pregnant workers provide medical clearances that are not required for other workers;
  • Failure to accommodate pregnancy-related work restrictions. Typically, similar accommodations are made by the employer for non-pregnant workers;
  • Barring lactating mothers from returning to work; and
  • Retaliation. Taken against employees who complained about pregnancy discrimination.

California Employment Law Attorney

James Johnson - California Employment Law
James Johnson, Johnson Attorneys Group, Employment Law Lawyer

Job applicants, new hires and other employees should never face discrimination in the workplace because they are pregnant or they had a baby. That’s why the State of California has labor laws to protect these vulnerable employees. These laws ensure workers are not terminated because they are pregnant or passed over for a potential job. It doesn’t matter whether it’s pregnancy discrimination, sexual assault, harassment, lost overtime wages, garnishing of tips or any other Labor Code violation.

If you have suffered discrimination, racism, harassment, or another situation that is protected by law, we urge you to speak to a qualified employment law attorney about your rights. You may contact Johnson Attorneys Group to request a free consultation at 855-918-2240.