Female employees at some of the largest corporations in Long Island and across the country continue to suffer from pregnancy discrimination on the job. A number of reports have highlighted that large corporations continue to discriminate against women who are pregnant or have recently given birth through denying them promotions, directing them to less lucrative positions or even terminating their positions. Despite the fact that many of these companies have in-house legal counsel to advise them about the illegality of workplace discrimination, studies indicate that the practices continue.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 explicitly classified discrimination against pregnant women or women who could become pregnant as a form of unlawful gender discrimination in the workplace. Employers are prohibited from firing women because of their pregnancy or from refusing to hire a woman because she either is pregnant or could become so in the future.
However, pregnancy discrimination continues to take many faces in the workplace. In some cases, employers present themselves as having a benevolent motive related to safety concerns. Nevertheless, the impact of such actions is often to force women with children into jobs where their earning potential and upward mobility can be limited. In other cases, no such positive face is put forward. One woman who worked for a finance company, for example, was told that there were no more promotions for her as she was now “old and having babies.” However the discrimination is presented, it remains a form of illegal discrimination on the basis of sex.
Women who have been subject to discrimination in the workplace due to their sex or their existing or potential pregnancy have the ability to fight back by filing complaints or seeking legal action. An employment lawyer may help victims of workplace discrimination take action to secure justice and compensation for their losses due to the discriminatory behavior.