Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Pregnancy discrimination is a type of sex discrimination and often involves an employer treating an employee differently because of issues concerning pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.
Under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers with at least 15 employees may not make job decisions based on certain protected characteristics, including sex. Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in 1978 as an amendment to Title VII, to clarify that firing, demoting, or otherwise penalizing employees because they are pregnant is a form of illegal sex discrimination.
In some circumstances, an employer might be obligated to provide time off to employees who are temporarily unable to work due to pregnancy and childbirth or to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees to enable them to perform their job duties.
Proving Pregnancy Discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination can occur at various times during employment. For example, employers are prohibited from factoring in an employee’s pregnancy into employment decisions when considering:
- fringe benefits like healthcare and leave
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To win a pregnancy discrimination case you must show:
- that you were treated differently than other employees who were similarly situated; and
- that the difference in treatment was based on your pregnancy.
The Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, childbirth or related medical conditions. Virginia law does not specifically require employers to offer pregnancy leave. However, employers covered by the Virginia Human Rights Act must provide the same leave benefits to women disabled by pregnancy that they provide to other employees with temporary disabilities.
This means that employers can provide leave for employees with temporary disabilities, including pregnancy disability, with or without pay, or not provide it at all, so long as all employees are treated the same in their requests for temporary disability leave.
Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination
- In 2017, the District Court of the District of Columbia ordered defendant, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., to pay the plaintiff over $1.1 million in damages and attorney’s fees in her successful pregnancy discrimination claim
- On May 3, 2017, the EEOC sued brokerage firm Brown & Brown for refusing to hire plaintiff after learning of her pregnancy. The District Court in Florida awarded plaintiff $100,000 for her successful pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
- On December 19, 2016, plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Dimensions Healthcare Services for pregnancy discrimination because she was denied a promotion while she was on pregnancy leave. The court ruled in her favor and awarded her $125,000.
- On February 17, 2016, a Texas based pharmaceuticals company called Pharmacy Solution settled a pregnancy discrimination cased with the EEOC awarding the plaintiff Arian Lemon $85,000 for discrimination and adverse retaliation.
Experienced Discrimination Attorneys Washington DC Maryland Virginia
Hiring a proven and effective advocate is critical to obtaining the maximum recovery in a pregnancy discrimination case. Eric Bachman, Chair of the Firm’s Discrimination Practice, has substantial experience litigating precedent-setting individual and class action discrimination cases. His wins include a $100 million settlement in a disparate impact Title VII class action and a $16 million class action settlement against a major grocery chain. Having served as Special Litigation Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and as lead or co-counsel in numerous jury trials, Bachman is trial-tested and ready to fight for you to obtain the relief that you deserve.
Bachman writes frequently on topics related to promotion discrimination, harassment, and other employment discrimination issues at the Glass Ceiling Discrimination Blog.
U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 firm in Litigation – Labor and Employment in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. To schedule a preliminary consultation, click here or call us at (202) 769-1681.