Pregnancy discrimination is illegal in the workplace as most employees are covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This federal law states that pregnancy discrimination is illegal in hiring, promotion, job training, pay, fringe benefits, discharge, referral, classification, among other aspects of employment. Pregnancy discrimination takes place when job applicants or employees are treated in an unfavorable way because of their pregnancy status.
Reporting Pregnancy Discrimination at Work
If you know you have been a victim of pregnancy discrimination in your workplace, and you have the evidence which proves your complaint, you should first report the discrimination to your employer’s Human Resources (HR) department, along with the evidence you’ve gathered. If this doesn’t do anything to rectify the discrimination, you should report the incident to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).
Reporting Pregnancy Discrimination to the EEOC
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants or employees because of their pregnancy status. Most employers that have at least 15 employees are covered by these EEOC laws and most employment agencies and labor unions are covered too. You may file a report of your pregnancy discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days of the discrimination occurring. This can be done online or in person at your nearest EEOC office.
Reporting Pregnancy Discrimination to Your State
Most states have a department where you should be able to report your pregnancy discrimination such as the labor department or civil rights department. Many states also have their own laws which make it unlawful to discriminate against an employee or job applicant because of their pregnancy status. To enforce such state laws, many states have their own agencies which are called "Fair Employment Practices Agencies" (FEPAs).
You may file your complaint with either the EEOC or with a FEPA. When a complainant first files with a FEPA that has a work share agreement with the EEOC, and the charge is protected by a law enforced by the EEOC, the FEPA will double file (i.e., “dual file”) the charge with the EEOC which means the EEOC will be sent a copy of the charge. If the complaint is first filed with the EEOC and it is also covered by local or state law, the EEOC dual files the complaint with the local or state FEPA so the FEPA will be given a copy of the complaint.
What to Have When Reporting Pregnancy Discrimination
Evidence of pregnancy discrimination could include written or verbal statements by witnesses that know your employer treated you unfavorably because of your pregnancy. An example of direct evidence is when your employer states that it never promotes pregnant employees. However, evidence often used is when the victim shows that the discrimination took place when she was fired for poor performance after her boss found out about her being pregnant, but she had previously been given excellent performance reviews.
Speak With an Employment Law Attorney
Providing the right evidence proving pregnancy discrimination is a vital part of winning a claim of discrimination and an employment law attorney may be able to help you file a successful claim.
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