Employer discrimination against new mothers is an old issue in this country, but one woman is facing a different kind of maternity discrimination while on pregnancy leave.
A Philadelphia woman and her husband were looking to finance work on their home. She was home from work on paid maternity leave when she discovered the bank had rejected her mortgage. Apparently, since she was no longer present at work, the bank no longer viewed her income as being valid. This led to her application getting rejected. She filed a suit making the claim that she had been rejected because of her pregnancy.
Do Banks Practice Maternity Discrimination?This case is not unique. The Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that there have been more than 200 alleged cases of maternity discrimination against women looking to get a mortgage. Cases have included major names in banking such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and PNC Mortgage.
The bank saw the term short-term disability on her pay stub and feared that she would not return to her job. The bank decided to remove her income from the application, which led to the family’s mortgage getting rejected.
For this Philadelphia woman, the case ended with what is called a “conciliation agreement.” Though the lender denied any wrongdoing, they agreed to pay $40,000 to the woman in question and $75,000 to an unidentified fair housing group.
Discrimination in Housing: The Fair Housing ActThe Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for housing providers or lenders to discriminate based on race, nationality, gender, religion, familial status or other protected classes. If a woman is on paid maternity leave, and her application is rejected based on her pregnancy, this could qualify as discrimination.
The issue is particularly troublesome, since some experts have pointed out that men in similar situations are very rarely denied the loans they have requested.
These cases are a good reminder that discrimination is still a struggle for many in America. Whether it occurs at work or when you are applying for loan, there are many protections in place. It always helps to do your research and learn your rights.
Dan A. Atkerson is an Dallas employment attorney. He fights to empower victims of workplace discrimination and other issues.