Pregnancy Discrimination on the Rise
In 2011, 5,997 complaints of workplace pregnancy discrimination were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/workplace-pregnancy-discrimination-cases-on-the-rise/2012/04/06/gIQALWId4S_story.html. That is a 23 percent increase from 2005. Pregnancy discrimination can affect women from various professions and income brackets alike. Female executives at large corporations and low-wage earners are both faced with their employer’s misplaced assumptions that pregnancy will result in decreased job performance. Low-wage earners in particular, however, seem to be facing an increasing pattern of discrimination because employers force them to take unpaid leaves. This may be due to the fact that many low-wage jobs are part-time, with rigid work schedules and demands, requiring manual labor which employers assume pregnant woman cannot perform.
There are many forms of pregnancy discrimination that female workers should be aware of, including a decrease in work hours, job loss, failure to hire or promote, and forced unpaid leave. Know your rights as a pregnant working woman. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is a federal law that prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating based on pregnancy or child birth. Pregnant women must be afforded the opportunity to work as long as they are able, with any absences treated the same as any other disability leave. California also has a host of protective laws which address pregnancy leave and discrimination, such as the California Family Rights Act, Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, and Paid Family Leave.
If you feel you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.