The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by broadening its sex discrimination definitions to include pregnant women. The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sex, but does not expressly address discrimination based on pregnancy. Any negative consequence at the workplace due to a pregnancy should be explored with a Fort Lauderdale pregnancy discrimination attorney.
Under federal law, discrimination is prohibited on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Accordingly, as a Fort Lauderdale discrimination lawyer explains, that means a pregnant woman has the right to be treated in the same manner as other employees or job applicants in similar employment positions.
As often is the case in discrimination claims, the matter is very fact-specific. For example, it may not be illegal for an employer to deny a pregnant woman a job if she could not perform the essential functions due to her pregnancy. In contrast, a Fort Lauderdale discrimination attorney indicates that if the employer chose not to hire a pregnant woman who was capable of doing the job solely on the basis of pregnancy that would likely be unlawful.
If a woman becomes pregnant and remains able to perform the job duties, she cannot be forced to leave but must be allowed to work as long as she is able. And as a Fort Lauderdale discrimination lawyer emphasizes, if at some point she no longer is able to perform certain job-related duties due to the pregnancy, her employer may not treat her differently than any other temporarily disabled employee.
It is not unusual for employers to fail to promote, offer training to or provide supplemental education to women who the employer suspects may become pregnant and not return to work. If this is the sole reason for the employer’s action it may be considered discriminatory.
Filing a federal pregnancy discrimination case is very different than most cases, and a Fort Lauderdale discrimination lawyer should be consulted. The charge is filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and must be done within 180 days of the act of discrimination. The EEOC will investigate but, due primarily to an extremely heavy case load, seldom will pursue a lawsuit against the employer. Instead, where the EEOC finds the evidence credible, it will issue a “Right to Sue” letter to the woman discriminated. She then will have 90 days to file suit or lose her rights under federal law.
If the employer is covered under the FMLA, then eligible employees must be allowed to take unpaid leave from work for the birth and care of a child.
Pregnancy discrimination has the potential to cause great stress in the woman affected, as well as create a financial burden for the family. It is important to understand and protect your rights. Call Mark J. Berkowitz, P.A., at (954) 527-0570 to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale Discrimination Attorney.