Arizona woman awarded damages due to pregnancy discrimination
Recently, a woman in Arizona was awarded damages after a jury determined she had been discharged, in part, due to her pregnancy.
August 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Arizona woman awarded damages due to pregnancy discrimination
Article provided by Matheson & Matheson, P.L.C.
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In the United States, employees are protected from being discriminated against on the basis of a variety of factors, including race, religion, national origin and sex. Included in the prohibition against sex discrimination in the workplace is the barring of employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth.
Earlier this summer, Matheson & Matheson received a favorable verdict in a pregnancy discrimination trial on behalf of their client Lindsay Murrell-Travland in United States District Court in Phoenix, Arizona. The case -- Murrell-Travland v. On Q Financial, Inc. -- involved a woman who informed her employer of her pregnancy in April 2007. She requested to take a six-week leave of absence following the birth of her child, who was due in early November 2007.
In the ensuing months, Ms. Travland continued her employment and received a number of notes thanking her for her work from the president of the company. Despite these positive remarks, in October 2007, On Q fired her, allegedly for issues with her work performance.
Following a jury trial, the jury determined that the woman was entitled to damages. The jury found that the employer's decision to discharge her was, at least in part, a result of her pregnancy or request for a leave of absence following the birth of her child, and awarded her compensatory damages of $50,000 in addition to lost wages due to her unlawful termination.
Protections afforded to pregnant women in the workplace
The primary federal law that protects pregnant women in the workplace in the United States is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The law is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating against an individual "on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions." While the Act provides necessary protections for pregnant women on the job, some argue that it does not go far enough.
Consequently, members of Congress have introduced legislation in the past to provide additional safeguards for women who become pregnant. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would expand on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, by requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women in the workplace. An employer would be allowed to refuse the accommodation only if it was able to show that it would "impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business."
If you or a loved one has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of pregnancy in the workplace, you may be entitled to recover damages due to the harm caused. Consulting with a skilled employment law attorney will ensure your rights are protected.
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