October 26, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- New Jersey Clinic Facing Pregnancy Discrimination Claims
Two women have filed a discrimination lawsuit against their former employer, a New Jersey allergist, claiming that they were both fired on the same day in October 2011 because they were pregnant. The suit alleges that, although the doctor claimed to be downsizing due to financial difficulties at the clinic, he later hired two new employees to replace the women who were fired.
The women are suing the doctor and his practice for pregnancy discrimination, which is prohibited by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One of the women was about eight months pregnant on the day of the firing, while the other was about seven weeks pregnant with twins, according to news reports. The doctor denies the allegations that the terminations were discriminatory.
Legal Protections for Pregnant Workers
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy in any aspect of employment. In addition to hiring and firing decisions, it is also illegal to discriminate against pregnant employees when determining pay, work assignments, promotions, and benefits such as time off or medical leave.
If a pregnant employee is temporarily unable to perform her normal job duties due to a medical condition related to pregnancy, her employer is legally required to treat her in the same way as any other employee with a temporary disability such as an injury or illness. Thus, if similar accommodations are provided for other employers suffering from temporary disabilities, an employer may be required to make reasonable accommodations for workers who are temporarily unable to do their normal work because of pregnancy. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include providing alternative light-duty assignments to the pregnant worker, allowing her to be seated instead of standing while working or permitting her to take disability leave or unpaid leave.
New Law May Provide Additional Protection
Despite these protections for pregnant workers, claims of pregnancy-related workplace discrimination have been on the rise in recent years. To provide greater protection to pregnant women in the workplace, Congress is currently considering a new bill called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The purpose of the PWFA is to strengthen the protections of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act by emphasizing employers' obligation to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. Supporters of the bill believe the proposed law is necessary in light of several recent high-profile cases in which employers failed to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees.
New Jersey workers who believe they have experienced workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition should discuss their situation with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer to learn about their legal rights and the possibility of seeking compensation.
Article provided by Lawrence N. Lavigne, Esq., L.L.C.
Visit us at http://www.lnlavignelaw.com/---
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