Can I Be Fired for Getting Pregnant?
Women in the workplace face unique obstacles that can sometimes lead to unlawful discrimination. Pregnancy, for example, can take time away from a woman’s ability to perform her job, and in some cases, employers will punish pregnant women in ways that violate the law.
A recent example of this can be seen in a lawsuit filed against the Dow Chemical Company on February 12, 2015 by a woman claiming that she was fired because of her pregnancy. The woman in question worked for Dow from April 2013 until her termination in November of the same year.
According to her complaint, after she became pregnant, her employers failed to accommodate her by limiting which work-related tasks she had to perform. She claims to have been forced to do too much lifting, which can be dangerous for a pregnant woman since pregnancy loosens ligaments and makes joints less stable, which can result in injury when lifting heavy objects. Pregnancy also shifts a woman’s center of gravity as a baby grows, which could lead to balancing problems or a serious fall injury for both the mother and the baby.
What is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy for all aspects of employment, including firing. If the woman can prove that she was terminated because of her pregnancy, she could be entitled to damages for lost wages and benefits, compensation for distress, attorney and witness fees and court costs.
Pregnancy is stressful enough without an employer’s discrimination. If you are pregnant and believe that you were treated unfairly at work as a result, whether through harassment, unlawful termination or a lack of accommodation, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney.
Atkerson Law – Dallas Employment Attorney
Did You Know? The PDA is an amendment to Title VII, passed in response to SCOTUS holdings that pregnancy discrimination does not violate the Constitution.