Women claim they were treated unfairly due to pregnancies
"Aren't you ever going to quit having kids?"
"Had I known of your pregnancy, you would not have been hired.”
"You're too pregnant to continue working.”
"You are a liability.”
These are just some of the statements female employees reported hearing from their managers at the Allsup’s convenience store chain. But verbal put-downs weren’t all the women had to deal with.
Unfortunately, what happened to this group of workers isn’t uncommon.
Let’s take a look at their lawsuit against their employer and then discuss what all women should know about pregnancy discrimination.
Forced to Take Leave
Joy Martinez-Pointer and several of her coworkers claim that the top management at Allsup’s was not too happy about having pregnant women on staff.
The women allege that their employer refused to consider job modifications for pregnant women who had lifting restrictions. Instead, the women claim they were forced to take involuntary, unpaid leave. Several of the women state that they were fired after their leave ran out because the company had a policy of limiting medical leave.
The women complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which sued for pregnancy and disability discrimination on their behalf.
After two years of legal proceedings, the company agreed to settle the case rather than face a jury trial. Allsup’s agreed to pay the woman $950,000 collectively.
Legal Protection for Pregnant Workers
There are several laws that may pertain to women’s rights in the workplace.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) states that companies may not discriminate against employees on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. That pertains to:
- Fringe benefits, or
- Job assignments.
The PDA also states that as long as pregnant women can perform the essential tasks of their positions, they generally may not be forced to take leave. In addition, if a woman has to take off due to a pregnancy-related condition and recovers, her employer may not force her to remain on leave.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may also come into play. While pregnancy itself is not considered a disability under federal law, changes to the ADA make it easier for temporary conditions to qualify for ADA protection.
That means that some pregnant women may be entitled to job accommodations to allow them to continue working while pregnant.
However, it’s important to know that ADA status is determined on
a case-by-case basis under the law, so be sure to seek legal advice if
you have questions.
Contact Us for A Consultation Now
Issues surrounding pregnancy and work can be extremely complex. It’s wise to speak to an experienced employment law attorney if you believe that you’ve been discriminated against because of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.