Pregnancy discrimination can occur in any part of the employment process. If during hiring a woman is not given equal consideration because she is pregnant or she recently had a child, she is being discriminated against. It also occurs if while an employee she is given negative differential treatment or is fired based on pregnancy. Federal law protects women from being discriminated against in the workplace based on their future or past pregnancy. If a woman is discriminated against based on pregnancy she should contact an attorney immediately to file employment discrimination charges against the employer.
Pregnancy itself can be an exciting, stressful, overwhelming experience. It also creates added stress for working women who have to decide how to tell their employer they are expecting and coordinate maternity leave. What happens when your employer is less than accommodating to your exciting news? Federal law provides that an employer cannot discriminate against employees because they are pregnant. The law treats pregnancy as a medical condition: it must be treated the same way as other medical conditions with similar employment effects. Your employer must treat a pregnant woman the same way it treats anyone else who has a medical condition that may require missing work. The key requirement is consistency.
Our firm represents employers and employees. The following are frequently asked questions employees ask us regarding Minnesota pregnancy discrimination laws.
Generally no. Even if your employment conditions could be deemed dangerous to the fetus, your employer cannot force you to quit. It once again becomes a matter of consistency – your employer cannot treat you differently than it would anyone else just because you are expecting.
If you will be taking leave, you have to follow the notice requirements set by your employer. Generally, those requirements should be the same for anyone taking a family or medical leave. The notice requirements cannot differ based on the reason for the leave. For example, your employer cannot require 90 days notice of a pregnancy leave and only 30 days notice to care for an ailing parent.
Pregnancy discrimination claims are generally proven through circumstantial evidence, just as any other discrimination claim is proven. The facts of pregnancy discrimination cases are often very similar: an employee receives glowing reviews until she announces she is expecting. Suddenly her performance is heavily criticized and she is told that if she does not improve she will be fired. Make sure you ask a lot of questions about the alleged problems with your performance and document everything. If you think something is fishy, it is important to keep track of your concerns and how your employer addressed them. That circumstantial evidence will be important if you decide to pursue a claim.
There are procedures you must follow to preserve your claim. There are also strict timelines for such claims. The attorneys at JUX Law Firm may be retained to investigate whether you have a discrimination claim.