Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is illegal in Philadelphia. It is a form of sex or gender discrimination and is prohibited under both federal and state laws. It occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by her employer, supervisor/manager, CEO, co-worker, vendor, client, or any non-employee simply because she is either pregnant or expecting, wants to become pregnant, or recently gave birth. For the past 25 years, the experienced lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped women, just like you, get the compensation they deserve as victims of pregnancy discrimination.
What Is Discrimination Based on Pregnancy in Philadelphia?
Pregnancy discrimination in Philadelphia occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by her employer, supervisor/manager, co-worker, CEO, client/customer, vendor, or other non-employee of the company because she is pregnant or expecting a baby, recently gave birth or is planning on starting a family. Federal and state laws prohibit this treatment as well as discrimination against a man because his wife or girlfriend is pregnant, just had a baby, or is trying to get pregnant. Philadelphia law considers pregnancy to be a form of temporary disability. Therefore, pregnant women must be afforded the same rights as any employee who is considered temporarily disabled.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under PDA, pregnancy discrimination, which is a form of sex discrimination, prohibits unfair treatment and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions in any workplace with 15 or more employees in Philadelphia.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects your job if you are pregnant as long as you work for a company with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of your office and have worked for the company for at least a year with at least 1,250 hours worked in that year. Under FMLA, pregnancy qualifies you to take unpaid leave from your place of work for up to 12 weeks in a one-year period, during which time, your job, or a comparable job must be available for you when you return to work. FMLA is often used to provide unpaid maternity leave and paternity leave for new parents.
The Pennsylvania Human Rights Act (PHRA) provides the same protections as the PDA to Pennsylvania workers throughout the state who work for companies with 4 or more employees.
Finally, the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance (PFPO) provides legal protections to employees who are pregnant or expecting, recently gave birth, or have related medical issues. Part of the protections, which go beyond temporary disability protections and even discrimination protections, include additional accommodations, such as more frequent bathroom breaks and even adjusting a pregnant employee’s job to work with her pregnancy limitations.
In order to prove pregnancy discrimination in Philadelphia, you must have either direct evidence, disparate evidence, or policy evidence.
- Direct Evidence. This is also known as the “smoking gun.” Direct evidence is not always common, but it is always helpful. This occurs when you are told directly or overhear that the discrimination was a direct result of our pregnancy. Direct evidence can come in verbal or written form, via a conversation, text, or email intended for you or someone else.
- Disparate Evidence. Disparate evidence occurs when you can relate your treatment to the knowledge of your pregnancy or related medical issues. This is often a cause and effect relationship. For instance, if your boss becomes aware of your pregnancy and within days denies you the opportunity to work on a big assignment that you were promised, you may have disparate evidence of pregnancy discrimination.
- Policy Evidence. Policy evidence occurs when a policy is discriminatory by nature. In this case, it does not matter if the intent was to discriminate. It simply matters that is causes discrimination. As a result, it can be used as evidence in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms in Philadelphia. It can be outwardly offensive or may be more subtle and not as noticeable. Some examples of pregnancy discrimination include, but are not limited to:
- Refusing to hire a pregnant job applicant
- Terminating a woman because she is pregnant
- Demoting a man whose wife or girlfriend is pregnant
- Refusing benefits to an unmarried pregnant woman
- Denying a pregnant employee a promotion because she is pregnant
- Refusing to allow a pregnant employee to work on a case that she was promised because she is pregnant
- Rubbing a pregnant woman’s belly without obtaining permission
- Making jokes about pregnant women that are offensive, even after you have been asked to stop
- Docking a pregnant woman’s pay for using the bathroom too often
- Calling a pregnant woman, “Preggers” even after she asked you to stop
- Terminating a pregnant woman who complained about unfair treatment to HR
- Not holding a woman’s job while she is recovering from giving birth and taking FMLA time off
- Not providing a pregnant woman the same accommodations provided to temporarily disabled employees
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Handles all claims that fall under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). You have a time limit of 300 days to file a claim with the EEOC for pregnancy discrimination. The EEOC will then investigate the claim and issue a Right to Sue Letter if the claim is valid under the guidelines of the PDA, which allows you to then file a lawsuit in federal court.
The FMLA allows you 2 years from the date of the violation to file a lawsuit for an accidental violation and 3 years for a deliberate violation.
The PHRA allows you a time limit of 180 days to file a claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). The PHRC will investigate your claim of pregnancy discrimination and issues you a letter giving you the right to pursue your claim in court.
Finally, the PFPA offers a time limit of 300 days to file a claim of pregnancy discrimination. It should be noted that a claim will not be accepted if a claim has been filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
As a victim of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, it is only natural you would want to know what remedies are offered for your claim. The court may offer the following relief for your pregnancy discrimination claim:
- Reinstatement of employment
- Reinstatement of benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Termination of a person responsible for the discrimination
- Review and revamp policies relating to pregnancy discrimination
- Attorney’s fees
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
A lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or longer, depending on the details of your case. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement before you get to trial, your case may settle in as little as 4 to 6 months.
However, if your employer insists on going to trial, your case may take 8 months to a year or longer to prepare. The trial may then take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or more until a judgment is entered by the court.
Making the decision to file a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination against your employer is not an easy one. However, as you make your decision, here are a few things you can do to help move the process along.
- Contact an experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney immediately.
- If you are still employed, do not quit your job until consulting with a pregnancy discrimination attorney first.
- If your company has an HR department, file a complaint in writing about the discrimination.
- If your company has a pregnancy discrimination policy, follow it.
- Gather evidence. Document every incident, including who was involved, what was said or done, when and where it occurred, and any witnesses.
- Do not waste time. The statute of limitations on pregnancy discrimination claims in Philadelphia is limited. Do not wait until it is too late.
Contact Our Experienced Philadelphia Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation
Pregnancy should be exciting! You have enough to worry about while pregnant. You should never have to worry about whether you will be discriminated against at work because of it. If you are a victim of pregnancy discrimination in Philadelphia, the experienced lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Call us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.
Different Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle:
- Race Discrimination
- Color Discrimination
- National Origin Discrimination
- Religion Discrimination
- Age (over 40) Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination
- Gender or Sex Discrimination
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
- Genetic Information Discrimination
- Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination
- Ethnic Discrimination
- LGBT Discrimination
- Hair Discrimination