Pregnant women often experience nausea commonly known as morning sickness. A 30-year old Walmart worker from Atlanta, Georgia was terminated after suffering the condition at work. Her supervisor told her she needed a doctor’s note in order to take breaks. She complied, and her doctor wrote that the employee should not lift heavy objects. Instead of reassigning the employee to a less demanding job, which she says is common for other workers with a temporary issue, she was told to leave work.
Declared a Liability
The human resources department at Walmart told her she could not return to work until after giving birth, and that she was a liability while pregnant. She was also informed that if she wanted to keep her job after giving birth, she would need to file for an unpaid leave of absence. That would have put the single mother in a vulnerable financial state. She also suffered considerable emotional stress because of Walmart’s decision.
Information is Power
The employee, upset by Walmart’s actions, went online and soon discovered that what the company had done to her was discriminatory. That lead her to contact A Better Balance, a well-known family rights organization. She also found out she was far from the first pregnant employee to suffer discrimination at Walmart. A Better Balance has filed several pregnancy discrimination charges against the company with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). Of these, two became class-action lawsuits and are now in federal court. Sadly, more than 31,000 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed with the EEOC between 2010 and 2015.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act nearly 40 years ago, making discrimination based on pregnancy illegal. The legislation was expanded 10 years ago to include certain conditions related to pregnancy that could count as disabilities. Many states have their own laws in place mandating reasonable accommodation for pregnant workers. What is considered a pregnancy-related disability varies from state to state.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was first introduced to Congress in 2012, but it has not yet passed. This legislation would ensure pregnant women are not denied reasonable accommodations while on the job. A Better Balance estimates that 250,000 pregnant women are denied requests for accommodations each year. These denials may impair the health of the women and their babies. Passage of this law would also clarify some of the gray areas in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
While working women of every race and class have babies, low-wage women of color face the most pregnancy discrimination. That may prove one reason why African-American women are four times more likely to suffer fatal injuries from pregnancy-related complications than their Caucasian counterparts. Latina women have significantly higher percentages of premature birth. Working-class women are far less likely to have paid maternity leave than their middle-class counterparts.
Delaware County Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C Advocate for Victims of Pregnancy Discrimination
If you have been terminated from employment because of your pregnancy, you need the services of the experienced Delaware County employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call our office today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas.