Pregnancy discrimination is a serious issue that affects individuals and families in Missouri more than in many other states. At Holman Schiavone, LLC in Kansas City, MO, we can help you understand your rights and get what you deserve. If you feel that you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination, working with a pregnancy discrimination attorney or gender discrimination attorney can help you recover the damages you suffered and start rebuilding stronger than ever.
Have You Been Treated Unfairly at Work as a Result of Pregnancy?
Pregnancy discrimination can occur in many different ways. If you feel that you have been denied equal opportunities or resources, or if you have been made to feel uncomfortable due to your pregnancy status, one of our highly experienced attorneys can listen to your story and help you clarify your legal options. The first step is to help you understand the definition of pregnancy discrimination, the laws surrounding it, and how they pertain to your circumstance.
What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?
In the workplace, discrimination is the practice of treating employees differently based on traits they share with a particular group. Pregnancy discrimination is the unfair treatment of an individual based on her pregnancy status. As such, it can also be considered gender or sex discrimination. It can occur in hiring practices, work distribution, compensation, and allocation of company resources.
Who Are the Perpetrators?
It is important to remember that hiring managers and individuals in senior positions are not the only perpetrators. Rather, anyone in the work environment who treats you differently or creates a hostile environment based on your pregnancy status could be at fault.
Who Are the Victims?
Similarly, pregnant women are not the only victims. You are also protected against pregnancy discrimination when it occurs as a result of related medical conditions. Pregnancy discrimination can also happen when perpetrators believe a woman is pregnant or intends to become pregnant in the future.
What Rights Do You Have in Missouri?
At Holman Schiavone, we focus on your rights. There are numerous laws at the state and federal levels that we can leverage to help you in cases of pregnancy discrimination. At the federal level, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) give you the right to take time off and to be treated in the same way as other individuals with similar skills and experience. At the state level, the Missouri Human Rights Act protects you from many kinds of discrimination, including unfair treatment which is based on gender or pregnancy.
The Family Medical Leave Act
According to the Family Medical Leave Act, you have the right to take 12 weeks off for pregnancy-related reasons. During and after your time off, you must be given the same benefits and treatment as any other employee who needs a leave as the result of some factor that temporarily disables them.
The Family Medical Leave Act specifies that when you return to work, you are entitled to the same conditions that you had when you left. That means that your employer cannot permanently fill your position during your absence or redistribute your work, though naturally, they can and will need to find someone to cover your tasks while you’re gone.
The key is that the coverage be temporary and the position reverts back to you. The act also allows you to take your time off intermittently, meaning that you can take a few weeks during your pregnancy and a few after the birth of your child.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit unfair treatment based on pregnancy. In a work context, it offers protection in situations related to:
- Equal pay
- Promotions and layoffs
- Benefits and training
- Other aspects of your employment
If you feel that you are being harassed or made to feel uncomfortable due to your pregnancy status, you may also be able to use the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in your case. According to federal law, you have the right to work without interference or hostility at any point before, during, or after your pregnancy.
The Missouri Human Rights Act
This act works in tandem with the Family Medical Leave Act, prohibiting employers from treating pregnant employees differently from employees who need time off for illness, injury, or another type of temporary disability. Its provisions concerning sex discrimination can offer protection in cases of work issues relating to pregnancy because women are the only people who require pregnancy and childbirth leave.
Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination goes beyond hiring and firing. It extends to any circumstance that affects your material compensation or ability to perform your job with the same resources as other employees. Here are some examples of how it can occur in the workplace:
Altering Work Loads and Making Decisions for You
According to the law in Missouri, you are the one who gets to determine how or if your work is reduced during your pregnancy. If your employer starts to limit your tasks, bypasses you on a promotion, or gives you fewer shifts without your input, it could be an example of pregnancy discrimination. This is true even if such decisions are supposedly for your benefit.
Failing to Provide Accommodations and Less Strenuous Work
The law requires your employer to provide accommodations for pregnant women and move them to positions that are less strenuous when they request such a change and when such a position is available. Similarly, refusing to allow an employee to take time off for pregnancy is illegal.
Any kind of harassment of pregnant women in the workplace is completely unacceptable. Such practices create environments in which the victims are singled out and forced to work under hostile conditions and work interferences on the basis of their pregnancy status.
Firing for Pumping Milk
Legally, your employer is not allowed to fire you or make you feel uncomfortable for pumping milk periodically while at work. Permitting you to do so is considered part of providing adequate accommodations for pregnant employees.
Retaliating Against You
Unfortunately, some women have been fired or penalized for speaking out against another form of pregnancy discrimination that they have experienced. This constitutes a form of pregnancy discrimination in itself and is legally unacceptable.
Working With a Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney or a Gender Discrimination Attorney
When you have been treated unfairly at work as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition, knowledge and experience are power. Our attorneys can help you navigate the laws, acts, and legal protocols that are essential for helping you achieve a just outcome. Our goal is to listen to your story with compassion and professionalism so that we can bring a winning edge to your case. Going up against an employer can feel like a big step to take, so working with an expert legal team can make a world of difference.
Because Your Rights Are Essential
At Holman Schiavone, your rights come first. That includes the right to work and earn compensation fairly in an environment that is free of pregnancy discrimination. When you feel that you have been treated unfairly by an employer or co-worker, talking with a pregnancy discrimination attorney or a gender discrimination attorney can help repair the damage. Contact Holman Schiavone, LLC today to learn more about how our highly qualified team can put justice on your side.