Over 40 years ago, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was signed into law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy in any aspect of employment. According to the PDA, employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees or applicants because of pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to childbirth or pregnancy. There are also state laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. In New Jersey, the Law Against Discrimination prohibits employers from, among other things, refusing to hire applicants, refusing to promote employees, firing employees, and denying employees benefits because of pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to childbirth or pregnancy.
However, despite there being federal and state laws prohibiting employers from discrimination against employees or applicants, the reality is that employers engage in pregnancy discrimination quite a lot. Thousands of women face discrimination from employers because of their pregnancies every year. Fortunately, victims of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace have legal recourse. A victim of pregnancy discrimination can file a claim against an employer and get the justice and compensation they deserve. It is estimated that approximately 5,300 pregnancy discrimination charges are filed yearly.
Suing for Pregnancy Discrimination
Before you sue an employer for pregnancy discrimination, you must be sure that you were treated differently than other employees or applicants who were similarly situated and that the reason for the different treatment is your pregnancy. In other words, you need to be sure that you were treated worse than other non-pregnant employees or applicants who were similarly situated. An experienced employment lawyer can help determine if you have a valid pregnancy discrimination case.
Once an attorney determines that you have a valid pregnancy discrimination case, they can help you gather evidence that you can use to prove your case. Regardless of the facts surrounding your case, you are required to show that it is more likely than not that the employer treated you differently because of your pregnancy.
Because pregnancy discrimination comes in many forms, it can be difficult to prove some forms of discrimination. Therefore, you should retain an attorney so they can guide you on what evidence and information you need to prove your case. Generally, you can use direct or circumstantial evidence in a pregnancy discrimination claim. Direct evidence arises when an employer openly states that an employee’s or applicant’s pregnancy was a factor in a particular decision. For example, if an employer tells a job applicant, “I would have liked to give you the job, but I know you will not want to travel much once you have your baby,” that statement would be direct proof of pregnancy discrimination.
However, often, employees rely on circumstantial evidence as it is rare for employers to admit to racist thinking. Usually, this type of evidence consists of proof that an employer changed their behavior, deviated from their standard policies or practices, or behaved in a manner that makes no business sense.
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
If you believe an employer has discriminated against you because of your pregnancy, contact our skilled and dedicated New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm for a free case evaluation.