Title VII was amended in 1978 by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) to prohibit sex discrimination based on pregnancy.  This means that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions must be treated the same for all employment-related purposes.    This similar treatment even encompasses those persons who are not affected but who have a similar ability or inability to work (i.e. the PDA requires that employers treat pregnancy as a form of temporary disability offering women who are pregnant the same opportunities, benefits, and rights as workers who are temporarily disabled).  The PDA recognizes certain inherently gender-specific characteristics that should not form the basis for disparate treatment of employees.  An example of this would be discrimination based on a woman’s capacity to become pregnant.  A claim for pregnancy discrimination is a claim for gender discrimination, and the legal analysis for both claims is the same.

This Means You Cannot be Fired for Being Pregnant

And, women cannot be fired temporarily while they are pregnant or showing.

There are several ways this type of discrimination can look in the workplace.  Sometimes, an employer makes clear that a woman was denied an opportunity or benefit by showing intentional discrimination.  More often, though, you will have to establish your case through events and indirect happenings.  Under this scenario, you can examine company-wide policies, deviations from business practice, treatment of other pregnant employees, treatment of disabled individuals, and the circumstances of the firing to determine whether comparable non-pregnant employees received more favorable treatment.

Retaliation is Illegal

Employers cannot retaliate against a pregnant mother who asserts her rights or a coworker who supports the claims of the mother.  Retaliation can include being terminated, losing a promotion, or changes in your job duties (such as being forced to do an unusual task, being isolated, being forced to work in a different location, or being stripped of your managerial duties).

Our Role is to Hold Your Employer Accountable

East Tennessee Employment Law fights for individuals who are subject to discrimination across Tennessee.  If you believe you have a claim, call us at 865-383-1053 or fill out our contact form.  Let us help you get all the work benefits you deserve.

We hope you found this description helpful.  We encourage you to go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website, www.eeoc.gov, for more general information about the enforcement of federal laws related to your employment.