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New Bill Targets Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Posted on in Employment

A new bill by a group of lawmakers aims to help reduce the risk of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, and boost protections for this vulnerable section of the workforce.

Lawmakers have introduced legislation with enhanced protections for pregnant employees, and the initiative comes as a response to a ruling by the Supreme Court.

That ruling allowed a former UPS driver to proceed with her claim against the company. According to her claim, the company discriminated against her by declining her request to be allowed to handle lighter packages, while she was pregnant.

Currently, federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant employees, or firing them unfairly or refusing to hire them. However, pregnant employees are not eligible for the same kind of reasonable accommodations that other workers may be eligible for. The bill would specifically require employers to make modifications to accommodate the increasingly sensitive condition of a pregnant employee.

The bill comes at an opportune time. All statistics indicate there has been an increase in the number of pregnancy discrimination complaints that have been coming in from across the country. According to the Equal Employment Diversity Commission, the agency has filed at least 44 lawsuits since 2011.

Not all pregnancy-related claims are easy to prove, however. Recently, a court in New Jersey decided against the plaintiff in a lawsuit brought by a former employee who said that she was passed over for promotion at pharmaceutical giant Merck and Co., purely because of her condition.

It isn't always easy to prove that your lack of opportunity for promotion is because of your pregnancy. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of your pregnancy, speak to a California employment lawyer.

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