Women should never be discriminated or retaliated against by their employers for becoming pregnant. Working mothers are a vital part of our workforce. Over 71% of women in the workforce have a child under the age of 18 according to the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, many employers leave women feeling guilty for choosing to have a family. The doctor’s visits, potential complications, bodily changes, and pain during pregnancy are stressful enough. Feeling like your employer has placed a target on your back because you are pregnant only adds to the stress. Pregnancy is a time in a woman’s life that should be celebrated, not viewed as a liability by their employer.
Signs of Pregnancy Discrimination and Retaliation
Pregnancy discrimination can occur before, during, or after your pregnancy. A major sign of pregnancy discrimination or retaliation is the feeling of being treated differently after your employer learns of your pregnancy, or after you request time off for medical complications related to the pregnancy such as being high risk. Some forms of pregnancy discrimination and retaliation may include:
- Denying time off;
- Denying you of the same job after returning from pregnancy leave;
- Job elimination;
- Workplace harassment;
- Refusal to hire;
- Not allowing time to breast feed;
- Reducing pay
Protections Against Pregnancy Discrimination
You have rights and protections against employers who engage in pregnancy discrimination. These safeguards include:
- The West Virginia Human Rights Act, W. Va. Code § 5-11-1, et seq.
- The West Virginia Pregnancy Fairness Act, W. Va. Code § 5-11-B-2
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
These laws forbid pregnancy discrimination and require employers to make accommodations for women who need time off due to pregnancy related medical complications. These protections are designed to allow women to earn an income without fear of discrimination or retaliation for becoming pregnant.
Available Damages for Pregnancy Discrimination Cases
Employers who engage in pregnancy discrimination or retaliation may be on the hook for damages such as your lost wages, emotional distress, aggravation, and loss of dignity. In some instances, job reinstatement may be an option. Employers may also face punitive damages which are designed to punish and deter further acts of pregnancy discrimination and retaliation.
Think You Might Have a Case? Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help You
At Bailess Law Firm, our team has zero tolerance for discrimination or retaliation against women in the workplace. Our team is committed to preventing pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. We strive to hold employers accountable who engage in such unlawful acts. If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination or just would like more information, call us for a free consultation at (304) 413-1400 or complete our contact form. We will listen to you without judgment.