Texas Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys
You may have been terminated when you told your employer that you were pregnant, or you found out that your job duties were reduced or eliminated after returning from long maternity leave. In any case, if you have experienced this type of treatment in the workplace, you are being discriminated against due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
Pregnancy discrimination involves treating a woman (whether she is a job applicant or already employed with a company) unfavorably due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a health condition that is related to childbirth or pregnancy. Both federal and state laws prohibit this type of discrimination under the PDA Discrimination Act.
If you are a victim of discrimination due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical condition, you need an experienced employment discrimination lawyer on your side. Contact a Texas pregnancy discrimination attorney from Leichter Law Firm PC at (956) 205-0884 to discuss your legal options.
How a Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney Can Help
If you have suffered from pregnancy discrimination, you may be eligible for compensation and damages for loss of income, missed benefits, or even pain and emotional suffering. You will need an employment discrimination lawyer to navigate through complex state and federal laws. An experienced lawyer can assist with gathering evidence to help prove your case and negotiate a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, an attorney can represent you during the trial process.
In addition to discriminating against pregnant workers, some companies are known to retaliate against employees who go to the HR department or complain to a government agency. In this case, an attorney can help you if you have been harassed or terminated because you reported a pregnancy-related discrimination complaint against your employer.
Meeting deadlines for filing the appropriate paperwork is crucial for a discrimination case. A skilled attorney can help file discrimination charges with the EEOC or the Fair Employment Protection Agency (FEPA). You have 180 days to report the discrimination in order to file a lawsuit.
Why Choose Us?
The experienced trial lawyers at Leichter Law Firm PC are dedicated to protecting the rights of employees in the workplace. If you have been wrongly terminated, we will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your firing. If you believe you have been denied employment, advancement, or wages due to your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, we can help negotiate a settlement with your employer for any compensation and damages that are owed to you.
Our law firm consists of highly accomplished attorneys, and each one is dedicated to aggressively fighting for your rights in the workplace. When we represent you, you will receive the personal attention from a Board-Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist to help you with your pregnancy discrimination case. Our main office is in Austin, Texas, with other offices in Houston and McAllen. We represent employees throughout the state of Texas as well as across the United States.
The PDA Discrimination Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended to cover issues of discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth. The PDA Discrimination Act states that discrimination “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” is illegal. Employers may not discriminate against current employees or job applicants due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related health condition.
This act also prohibits discriminatory policies that limit or exclude women from performing specific jobs because they are pregnant. It also prohibits actions or policies that impact women that may become pregnant. However, this act only covers employers that have 15 or more employees.
Protections under the PDA Discrimination Act include the following:
A company cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, or because of her ability to become pregnant in the future.
Maternity Leave Benefits
An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions to determine an employee’s ability to work. If a worker is unable to perform the job because of her pregnancy, she must be treated the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. A pregnant worker must be permitted to work as long as she is able to perform the duties of her job.
In addition, an employer cannot require a worker to stay on leave until the baby’s birth or a prohibit a woman from returning to work after she gives birth. However, if an employer requires that an employee submit a doctor’s statement concerning their ability to work before leave or sick time is granted, then pregnant workers need to submit this type of statement as well.
An employer must also hold a job open for a pregnancy-related absence for the same amount of time that a job is held open for employees that are placed on disability or sick leave.
Health Insurance Benefits
Any employer-provided health insurance must cover expenses for pregnancy and childbirth on the same basis as other medical conditions. Pregnancy-related expenses should be reimbursed. Employers must also provide the same health benefits for spouses of male employees as for spouses of female employees.
Fringe benefits related to pregnancy and childbirth cannot be limited to only employees that are married. Fringe benefits must be provided for pregnancy-related conditions if these types of benefits are provided for other health conditions. If an employer provides benefits to any disabled workers on leave, the employer must provide the same benefits for workers that are on leave for pregnancy.
Workers who are on leave because of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions must be treated the same as other temporarily disabled employees for the purposes of calculating vacation time, seniority, wage increases, and temporary disability benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Pregnancy Discrimination
If you have questions about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, we’ve provided the answers to a few of the most commonly-asked questions below. To discuss specifics about your particular situation, contact our experienced attorneys at (956) 205-0884 today.
How does a pregnant worker prove that an adverse action was the result of pregnancy discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA)?
Some of the examples of evidence of a discriminatory motivating factor in an employment decision can include more favorable treatment of employees unaffected by pregnancy but of similar ability or inability to work; close timing between adverse actions and knowledge of an employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition; statements demonstrating pregnancy bias; and policies treating pregnant workers less favorably.
What is a “reasonable accommodation?”
An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a worker with a pregnancy-related impairment when a reasonable accommodation is requested. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines a reasonable accommodation as “a change in the workplace or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform a job’s essential functions, or enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.” A reasonable accommodation can only be denied by an employer when the requested accommodation would result in an undue hardship. The EEOC defines an undue hardship as “an action requiring significant difficulty or expense.” Examples of reasonable accommodations listed by the EEOC that may be necessary for someone whose pregnancy-related impairment is a disability include granting additional leave; purchasing or modifying equipment; temporary reassignments; allowing a pregnant worker placed on bed rest to telecommute; modifying a work schedule; modifying workplace policies; and redistributing marginal or nonessential functions that a pregnant worker cannot perform, or altering how an essential or marginal function is performed;.
What are medical conditions related to pregnancy?
The EEOC states that common medical conditions related to pregnancy include the after-effects of a delivery, complications requiring bed rest, gestational diabetes, disorders such as preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure), and back pain. Lactation is also a pregnancy-related medical condition according to the EEOC. An employee who is lactating need to be able to address lactation-related needs to the same extent as she and her coworkers are able to address other similarly limiting medical conditions.
Pregnancy Discrimination Statistics
According to the Pew Research Center, only 44 percent of women worked during pregnancy in the early 1960s, but 67 percent of women worked during pregnancy by the late 1980s. United States Census Bureau data showed 66 percent of mothers who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during their pregnancy.
Pew reported 65 percent of working women pregnant with their first child stopped working more than a month before the birth while 35 percent continued working into their final month in the early 1960s. By the late 2000s, 82 percent continued in the workplace until within one month of their first birth while only 18 percent stopped working before then.
Nearly three in 10 charges of pregnancy discrimination were filed by black women despite black women accounting for only 14 percent of women in the workforce between the ages of 16 and 54, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. The organization also reported that 45.8 percent of cases were filed by white women, 28.6 percent were filed by black or African American women, 8.1 percent were filed by Hispanic or Latina women, 2.0 percent were filed by Asian women, 0.9 percent were filed by American Indian or Alaska Native women, and 0.3 percent were filed by Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander women.
The National Partnership for Women & Families also reported that 24 percent of pregnancy discrimination charges filed with the EEOC involved women in the health care and social assistance industry. The organization states that 14.4 percent were in retail trade, 11.1 percent were in accommodation and food services, 7.6 percent were in manufacturing, 5.0 percent were in professional and technical services, and 4.1 percent were in educational services.
The 3,174 receipts for pregnancy discrimination charges in the fiscal year 2017 reported by the EEOC was the lowest total of the past eight years. The EEOC reported there were 3,781 resolutions to pregnancy discrimination charges, 355 settlements, and 285 withdrawals with benefits in 2017. Monetary benefits totaled $15.0 million in pregnancy discrimination cases.
Contact our Texas Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys Today
The discrimination attorneys at Leichter Law Firm PC have vast experience representing women in cases of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. We are committed and dedicated to protecting the rights of pregnant workers in all industries in the state of Texas as well as throughout the United States. If you believe that your employer has discriminated against because of your pregnancy, we can help fight back against this type of mistreatment. Contact us at (956) 205-0884 for a free consultation today.