Pennsylvania and New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys
When a woman becomes pregnant, she must make many critical decisions, including decisions about work. Her employer does not get to make those decisions for her. Women are entitled to leave to give birth and take care of young children and to return and expect the same or substantially similar work, pay and benefits.
Too often, women find themselves suddenly laid off or terminated soon after becoming pregnant. They may be passed over for promotions or given less work. Expecting fathers may also experience repercussions. These types of actions may be illegal employment discrimination under federal and state law.
Philadelphia Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
If you have experienced any negative employment action that can be attributed to pregnancy, you may have a claim for discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy. It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against a woman for requesting or using, her right to take maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
At Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, our experienced discrimination lawyers fight for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York workers. We have received recognition for our skill and dedication to our clients. Call 215-545-7676 today to set up a consultation to discuss your potential claim with us. It is important that you act quickly — in some cases, you may only have 180 days to file a claim from the negative employment action.
We represent victims of discrimination throughout the Philadelphia region, including Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, and Bucks Counties. We also represent pregnant women in New Jersey, including in Ocean, Atlantic, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington and Cape May Counties. Additionally, we represent clients in New York.
Federal and Pennsylvania Laws Prohibiting Pregnancy Discrimination
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII so that this prohibition explicitly included pregnancy, childbirth or any related medical conditions. The law holds that a pregnant woman must be permitted the opportunity to work for as long as she is able, with reasonable accommodations provided.
Pregnancy may also be considered a type of short-term disability, and be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The employer must make reasonable modifications to work duties among other reasonable accommodations.
Discrimination based on pregnancy is also illegal under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance.
A pregnancy discrimination lawsuit may, therefore, be brought either in federal court or in state court in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. The better option will depend on specific circumstances. For instances, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act does not apply to federal agencies, so the federal court might be your only option if you are a federal employee.
Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination
An employer may make a negative assumption about a woman who is pregnant. They may assume she will be less available to work due to motherhood, or that she is likely to make a decision to quit, and base an employment decision, such as promotion or layoffs, on those assumptions.
Negative employment decisions may include:
- Termination or layoff;
- Passing over a pregnant woman for promotion;
- Giving projects to another employee, even when the expecting mother would be available to work on them; or
- Hiring another person.
If any of the above decisions are made on the basis of a woman’s pregnancy, it is discrimination and is illegal.
Right to Maternity and Paternity Leave
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates certain employers give at least 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave with benefits to employees over the course of 12 months. That leave can be used for both maternity and paternity leave.
Qualifying employers include:
- Any private section employer with at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the workplace; and
- A state, local or federal government agency.
To qualify, an employee must have worked for that employer for 12 months, and have worked at least 1,250 hours in those 12 months. The employer must have at least 50 employees working within 75 miles.
It is your right to take this leave if you and your employer qualify. Your employer may not ask you to come back early or work from home. Your employer cannot fire you because you ask to take leave.
When the employee returns from the leave, she or he must be offered the same position or an equivalent one, with the same pay, benefits, and terms and conditions. If an employee returns and has no job or a much lesser one, he or she may have a claim.
Pennsylvania does not have a state law that requires businesses to give leave, but under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, if an employer offers any type of medical or family leave, it must offer the same for maternity or paternity leave.
Damages in Pregnancy Discrimination Cases
For a pregnancy discrimination case, compensatory damages may be available. These can include economic damages, like lost pay or pay you deserved. It can also include noneconomic damages, like mental anguish, as well as punitive damages.
You may also be entitled to injunctive relief, meaning the court may order your employer to give you the job you deserve.
Console Mattiacci Law, LLC ǀ Philadelphia Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers
If you have suffered negative employment action after you became pregnant, you may be the victim of discrimination. You have a right to pursue a claim. Our dedicated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York discrimination lawyers at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC can fight for you. Some claims have very strict deadlines of 180 days. Call us today at 215-545-7676 to set up a consultation.