Have you recently lost your job and feel that you were wrongfully terminated due to being pregnant? If you believe you believe this has happened to you, the good news is you have an opportunity to dispute your case against your former employer.
Here’s what you need to know:
First, it’s important that you understand what pregnancy discrimination is. This is a form of illegal sex discrimination and occurs when an employer treats an employee differently based on her pregnancy, childbirth, or any other related condition. Pregnancy discrimination can occur at any point from the time you are being hired to the time you were fired. Furthermore, it is illegal to refuse to hire a woman simply because she is pregnant. It is also illegal to give assignments, promotions, or demotions based on pregnancy; or to fire a woman who is pregnant.
It is important to understand that the law does not provide for special rights for pregnant women, rather it protects women from being treated differently from other employees due to their pregnancy.
A good example of this is if a person with a temporary disability is allowed to go on light duty, a pregnant woman can expect the same treatment.
Next, it’s important to understand how to prove you have been discriminated against, here are some things to be mindful of so you can win your pregnancy discrimination case.
Remember you must be able to show you were treated differently than other employees who were in similar situations and that the only difference was your pregnancy. Here are some ways to prove this:
In some cases, you might have direct evidence – which is usually in the form of an employer admitting to discriminatory actions. An example of this is, “I have to let you go because you can no longer perform your job due to your pregnancy.”
If your employer has said that your pregnancy played a role in their decision you have a pretty solid case. Keep in mind, however, this is not common as employers will rarely admit to knowingly discriminating against an employee.
In order to prove discrimination by circumstantial evidence, the facts you present need to indicate it is more likely than not that discrimination was involved. This might be in the form of proving an employer acted in a way that doesn’t make sense, that they drastically changed their behavior, or suddenly changed business practices or policies. If there isn’t a good reason for the sudden shift, shortly after you announced your pregnancy this can also help support your claim. An example of this might be if you were fired shortly before your due date.
Here are some types of circumstantial evidence:
One example would be getting fired on your last day of work before you began pregnancy leave or getting fired on the day you announced your pregnancy. Another situation would be a supervisor or higher executive noticing your pregnancy and asking you questions about your intent to continue working, and suddenly getting fired in the coming days. This sort of evidence can help persuade a jury of the presence of discrimination.
If the reasons you were given for being fire don’t make sense you may also have a strong case. For example, if they say they need someone with a stronger background in science and analyzing data despite you holding a degree in that area their reason for termination would seem suspect to a jury.
If you notice a trend that pregnant women never make it past their third trimester when working at your job, you can use this as evidence for a pattern of workplace discrimination against pregnant women.
If you believe you are experiencing pregnancy discrimination, the best thing you can do is speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. If you have already lost your job, an experience sexual discrimination attorney can help you assess the strength of your claim and decide what the next steps are. This might include negotiating a severance package or pursuing legal action.
It’s important to note that in order to preserve your right to sue, you must file a discrimination charge with the EEOC, which has strict deadlines. This is why working with an attorney is so important. They are well aware of the laws, deadlines, and what has to be filed with who. Don’t leave any of this up to chance. Contact our office today and protect your rights.