What Can You Do About Pregnancy Discrimination?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, or PDA, protects you from facing discrimination in the workplace because you are pregnant. If you have been terminated and you believe it is because of your pregnancy, you have the right to take legal action against your former employer?

What Is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a federal law that sets certain rules for how employers can treat pregnant employees. The law prohibits an employer from laying off, demoting, firing, or disciplining an employee due to pregnancy. 

Employers are also prohibited from denying job advancement opportunities because of pregnancy. Employers also cannot force an employee to take time off from work if she is willing and able to work.

What Can You Do If You Were Fired Due to Pregnancy?

You can file a charge against your employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, if you feel that you were fired because of pregnancy discrimination. 

To file the charge of discrimination, you have to detail why you felt that you were discriminated against by your employer. You have up to 180 days from the time of the incident to file a charge against your employer. In some states, the time limit can be up to 300 days. 

What Happens After the Charge Is Filed?

Your employer will receive a copy of your allegation. Your employer can choose to admit to the discrimination or deny it. If your employer denies it, the EEOC has several options for proceeding with your case. 

The agency could set up mediation between you and the employer with the goal of reaching a settlement of some sort. The agency could also investigate your claim to determine if discrimination occurred. If so, your employer could face legal consequences. 

In some rare instances, the EEOC can choose to file a lawsuit against your employer. 

What Else Can You Do?

If the EEOC investigates your claim and finds it to be valid, it will send you a right to sue letter. The letter basically states that the investigation was completed and you have the right to pursue a lawsuit against your employer. 

When you receive the letter, you and your employment lawyer must act fast. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is 90 days from the time the letter is received. 

Ideally, you should involve an employment lawyer in your case from the beginning. Since the time limits involved in the case are relatively short, the amount of time that your lawyer would have to get up to speed would be limited. If involved from the beginning, your lawyer, someone like Timothy P O'Brien, will know what actions need to be taken based on your case.