Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Many women face bias and discrimination as a result of pregnancy. However, a pregnancy doesn’t change a woman’s abilities. At times, it brings issues that can impact their health; for example, about half of pregnant women experience vomiting and nausea that may require reasonable accommodations—often, temporarily. There are laws in State College, PA, designed to protect women against adverse or harmful employment actions due to pregnancy or due to the need for reasonable accommodations.
If you or someone on you know in State College is facing discrimination because of a pregnancy or has been denied reasonable accommodations on that basis, call the Law Office of Andrew Shubin for high-quality legal assistance. At the law office of Andrew Shubin, you will find a committed team of attorneys with a strong track record of fighting for equality and fairness. They have served the community of State College, PA for over 20 years. Call (814) 867-3115 to schedule free a consultation today.
Laws Protecting Pregnant Women Against Discrimination
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k) (“PDA”), provides that women affected by “childbirth, or a related medical condition” should receive the same treatment for all employment-related purposes as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work. Access includes receiving of benefits and access to benefit programs. Technically, the PDA should protect both men and women, even though there are only a few precedents with respect to leave and benefits.
The goal of a PDA claim is determining whether “an employer’s policy treats pregnant workers less favorably than it treats non-pregnant workers.” Young v. United Parcel Serv. (2015). Also, there may be claims under the following laws:
- Title VII – Retaliation 42 USC § 2000e-3(a)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12112
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Pregnancy Discrimination in Employment
A successful lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination requires you to establish what is known as a “prima facie case.” A prima facie case provides the basic factual elements that meet the legal standards of your claim. If you are denied services because you are pregnant, here is what you need to establish to have a successful legal claim:
- You are pregnant, and your employer is aware of the condition.
- You are qualified for the position.
- You suffered an adverse employment decision.
- There was a nexus between your pregnancy and the adverse employment decision that would allow a court to infer discrimination.
Doe v. C.A.R.S. Prot. Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 358, 366 (3d Cir. 2008)
Adverse Employment Actions and Discriminatory Acts
If you are pregnant and you suddenly find yourself treated less favorably, you may be experiencing unlawful adverse employment actions. The legal definition of “adverse employment actions” in Pennsylvania provides that an adverse act has a notable impact on a person’s “compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.” Cardenas v. Massey (3d Cir. 2001). Factors taken into consideration include:
- Employee’s salary
- Reporting requirements
- Whether general duties remain the same
- Change in employment status or responsibilities (even if there is no pay reduction or loss of benefits)
- Treated less favorably than similarly situated employees who are not pregnant
The gist of a pregnancy discrimination claim under PDA is whether the employer is treating a pregnant woman differently. In this respect, the PDA is not designed to protect maternity leave or accommodations. It focuses on adverse actions initiated as a result of prejudice and bias, not attempts to avoid paying maternity leave expenses. Moreover, there are instances of unlawful discrimination due to pregnancy-based stereotypes, such as past pregnancies and plans for future pregnancies.
Discrimination Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Depending on the type of job you have, your pregnancy may bring physical limitations warranting temporary reasonable accommodations to prevent a miscarriage. Asking for these services shouldn’t be a cause for adverse reactions at work, and there are legal protections against these types of actions.
In Pennsylvania, you are considered disabled if you suffer from any pregnancy-related complications constituting a disability. If you are denied reasonable accommodations, you can sue for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. To establish the legal elements or “prima facie case” of disability discrimination under the ADA, you must show that:
- The condition is a disability within the scope of the ADA.
- You have the qualifications to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodations by the employer.
- You have suffered an adverse employment decision as an act of discrimination.
“Selective” Treatment of Accommodations
Refusal to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women can constitute ADA discrimination if your employer acts “selectively”— that is, some employees will be offered reasonable accommodations while pregnant women are denied what they need.
Moreover, it is not generally considered a legitimate excuse to claim that it is more expensive or less convenient to give accommodations to pregnant women. If there is a pattern in which other employees receive accommodations while the employer fails to provide accommodations to pregnant workers, you may have a strong claim for pregnancy discrimination under the ADA.
State and Local Protections for Pregnant Women
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) prohibits discrimination of workers based on pregnancy. Also, the Anti-Discrimination in Employment Ordinance protects individuals with “family responsibility,” and it prohibits discrimination based on gender. Your attorney can guide you in greater detail as to the options you have based on state and local laws.
Call Your Trustworthy State College Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney
If you are experiencing a pervasive bias and discrimination since your employer learned about your pregnancy, or if you were denied opportunities received by other workers with the same qualifications, consider speaking to a qualified attorney. Lawyers with the Law Office of Andrew Shubin are available to speak with you and guide you as to the best course of action. Call (814) 867-3115 to schedule a free consultation today.