Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy Discrimination in Employment

Employment discrimination of the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is unlawful employment discrimination because of sex.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 [PDA], a federal law, prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PDA is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with concerning 15 or more employees, employment agencies, and labor organizations.

The PDA prohibits discrimination based on past and current pregnancy, potential pregnancy, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. The law covers pregnant women whose physical condition qualifies them for disability leave under company policy.

The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act [CADA] prohibits discrimination on the basis including pregnancy. The CADA applies to employers with one or more employees.

Discriminatory Actions

An employer cannot treat an employee or applicant differently because of pregnancy, childbirth, and relate medical conditions. An employer cannot discriminate concerning hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment. Examples include:

  • Refusing to hire a pregnant applicant;
  • Firing or demoting a pregnant employee;
  • Denying the same or a similar job to a pregnant employee when she returns from a pregnancy-related leave;
  • Discriminate against a female applicant or employee because it believes pregnancy might prevent the employee from doing her job.
Pregnancy Stereotype

The PDA is designed to address the stereotype that “women are less desirable employees because they are liable to become pregnant.”

An employer cannot discriminate on the basis of any stereotype concerning a woman’s ability to perform her job duties, i.e. taking adverse action based on the stereotypical presumption about the employee’s inability to fulfill job duties because of her pregnancy.

Family Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act [FMLA] provides for leave because of pregnancy or childbirth, and prenatal care. The FMLA applies to employers with over 50 employees. The law provides employees unpaid leave for 12 weeks a year.

Pregnancy Discrimination & Harassment

Pregnancy harassment is sex discrimination. Harassment is unlawful when the individual is subjected to a tangible employment action, i.e. discharge, or when the individual is subjected to hostile or offensive work environment because of pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

Administrative Proceedings

A person seeking relief for pregnancy discrimination, under Title VII or the CADA, must file an administrative charge before filing a civil action in court. A charge of discrimination must be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] within 300 days of the discriminatory action. The aggrieved individual may also file a charge with the Colorado Civil Rights Division within 180 days of the last discriminatory action.

Conclusion

Murray Law welcomes the opportunity to discuss your right to be free from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. We look forward to meeting with you. Please contact Steven Murray at 720-600-6642.

Resource

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] provides guidance, explanation, and discussion pregnancy discrimination. See https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/pregnancy.cfm

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