Have you been discriminated against or harassed at work due to pregnancy or recent childbirth? If so, you may have the right to pursue financial compensation from your employer. State and federal laws protect the rights of pregnant workers to receive equal treatment. Turn to a Tallahassee pregnancy discrimination lawyer from Cruz Law Firm, P.A., for help as you demand that your employer compensate you for the harm it caused you.
Our legal team has extensive experience advocating for the rights of hardworking people across the Tallahassee region and has taken more than 100 cases to trial, giving us a deep familiarity with the state and federal courts. When you choose us to handle your case, you can have confidence knowing seasoned attorneys are in your corner.
Reach out to Cruz Law for an initial claim review with a Tallahassee pregnancy discrimination attorney. Our firm is ready to fight for the accountability and justice you deserve after being discriminated against by your employer for pregnancy and childbirth.
What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination occurs when a worker who is pregnant or has recently delivered a child experiences unfair treatment from their employer. This unfair treatment can include refusal to hire or promote, offering less pay or benefits, denying training or work opportunities, or terminating a pregnant worker.
Pregnancy discrimination can also involve harassing an employee who is pregnant or has a pregnancy- or childbirth-related medical condition. Such harassment becomes illegal when it is so severe or frequent that it creates a hostile work environment for a pregnant worker or a worker who recently had a child.
Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
Examples of actions or behavior in the workplace that may constitute pregnancy discrimination include:
- Taking adverse employment actions against a pregnant worker, including refusing to hire a pregnant woman, terminating a pregnant woman, reducing a pregnant worker’s pay, withholding or removing work assignments, or forcing a pregnant worker to take leave or change positions.
- Pressuring a pregnant worker to stay on the job or delay the start of maternity leave, or pressuring a female employee who recently had a child to return to work soon after childbirth.
- Denying reasonable accommodations to a pregnant worker or a worker who recently gave birth, such as changes in schedules to accommodate morning sickness or medical appointments; ergonomic office furniture; remote working; permission to take frequent breaks; or a private place to pump breast milk.
- Offensive or derogatory commentary about pregnant women or directed towards a worker who is pregnant or recently gave birth, including comments about the worker’s appearance or productivity.
What Law or Laws Protect Employees from Pregnancy Discrimination in Florida?
Several laws protect workers from pregnancy discrimination in Florida at both the state and federal levels, including:
- The Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA) – This state statute makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee due to pregnancy.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 – This federal statute amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VIII) by extending the prohibitions on employment discrimination to pregnant workers. This includes treating employees who suffer medical complications due to pregnancy or childbirth the same as other workers who suffer other medical conditions.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) – This federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against disabled workers, including disabilities caused by pregnancy or childbirth. A disability under the ADA includes any physical or cognitive limitation that impacts one or more major life activities, a record of a physical or cognitive limitation, or an employee being perceived as disabled.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – This federal law entitles eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for medical or family care, including pregnancy or maternity leave, childbirth, and recovery from childbirth. Eligible workers include any worker who works for an employer with more than 50 employees employed within a 75-mile radius of the worker’s worksite. The employee must also have been employed by their employer for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours in that time.
How to Prove You Were Subject to Pregnancy Discrimination
Building a strong case for pregnancy- or childbirth-related employment discrimination requires evidence of misconduct. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, potentially valuable evidence could include:
- Employment records, such as your employment contracts, employee handbooks, HR policies, or your performance reviews
- Your pay records, as well as the pay records of other non-pregnant employees who perform the same work as you
- Records of your employer’s pattern or practice in employment decisions, including hiring, firing, promotion, work assignments, or disability/medical accommodations
- Emails, text messages, internal messaging system posts, or social media posts
- Recordings or contemporaneous notes of phone calls or conversations
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical records and testimony from your obstetrician and other medical providers
Pregnancy discrimination cases rarely involve direct evidence of an employer’s discriminatory motive. Instead, proving pregnancy discrimination usually requires circumstantial evidence to support an inference of discrimination. An employer can offer a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for an adverse employment action against a pregnant worker. But the worker can rebut this reasoning by providing other circumstantial evidence showing that the employer’s reason was simply a pretext and that pregnancy discrimination actually occurred. Such evidence may include the timing between the worker’s pregnancy announcement and the adverse employment action, or suspicious or derogatory comments made during the adverse employment action.
Types of Damages in a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit
A pregnancy discrimination lawsuit can provide you with financial recovery and legal relief from the effects of discrimination or harassment at work, including:
- Back pay, including base wages or salary, overtime, tips, bonuses, commissions, or other fringe benefits, after you were wrongfully terminated or denied work opportunities due to your pregnancy or childbirth
- Front pay you will lose out on for being wrongfully terminated or denied job opportunities
- Compensation for emotional trauma, distress, or medical complications caused by your employer’s denial of reasonable work accommodations
- Injunctive relief from your employer, including reinstatement to employment or a court order requiring your employer to provide you with reasonable accommodations
- Punitive damages to punish your employer for intentionally or willfully violating your employment law rights
The specific damages you could be entitled to depend in part on how and where you file your claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Pregnancy Discrimination Claim?
A pregnancy discrimination claim under Title VII or the ADA must first be filed as a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. EEOC charges typically must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination, with the filing deadline extended to 300 days if a state or local law also prohibits the same alleged discrimination.
After the EEOC investigates your charge of discrimination, it may issue you a notice of right-to-sue that allows you to file a federal lawsuit against your employer. You must file your lawsuit within 90 days of receiving the notice of right-to-sue from the EEOC.
You can also file a charge of discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) within 365 days of the alleged discrimination.
A pregnancy discrimination claim alleging a denial of FMLA leave, or alleging retaliation for requesting or taking FMLA leave, must be filed within two years of the alleged act or three years if your employer willfully violated your FMLA rights. You can also file FMLA claims with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
How a Tallahassee Employment Lawyer Can Help in a Pregnancy Discrimination Case
When you are focused on bringing a new life into the world or caring for your newborn, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to also pursue a legal claim against your employer for pregnancy discrimination. Let a Tallahassee employment lawyer from Cruz Law handle all the details of your case and give you peace of mind knowing your rights are in good hands. Turn to our firm so we can help you by:
- Gathering evidence of discrimination or harassment at work to support your case.
- Documenting your financial and personal losses, including lost pay, medical expenses, and emotional distress.
- Evaluating your legal options and determining statutes under which you may have claims.
- Preparing and filing your EEOC and FCHR claims and handling communications with the agencies for you.
- Filing lawsuits to pursue your claims in court, if necessary, to demand accountability and financial compensation from your employer.
Remember, time is of the essence. The sooner you get in touch with Cruz Law, the quicker our attorneys can get to work on your case.
Contact Our Tallahassee Pregnancy Discrimination Law Firm Today
You have legal protections against employment discrimination for your pregnancy and childbirth. Cruz Law wants to defend them.
We represent employees in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and across the Florida Panhandle. Contact us today for a confidential consultation with a Tallahassee pregnancy discrimination lawyer to learn more about how we can help you demand accountability and financial recovery from your employer.