Discrimination in the workplace has been a focus of legislators for many decades. There are several laws in place designed to prevent employers from being able to treat certain workers negatively if they fall into a protected class. Those employers who violate these laws can find themselves facing significant consequences for their actions.
One of the protected classes of workers involves those employees who are pregnant. This federal law has recently come into question because it appears to be lacking in some of the protections that it provides to workers. In fact, according the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pregnancy discrimination cases have increased 71 percent over the past two decades.
The law currently in place has been the subject of much litigation through the years, and many of these cases have limited some of the scope of the law. Employers are not required to provide temporary accommodations to workers because of issues associated with their pregnancies. In some situations, the workers may be unable to perform their regular job tasks because of their condition.
Because of this, Congress is considering the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which would allow pregnant workers more protection from discrimination in the workplace. The bill would require employers to make temporary accommodations to these workers, such as changing the employee's job duties or allowing the individual to take a leave if their condition makes working impossible.
While the bill has received widespread support in public, it appears that it will not receive a vote in the House. Opponents feel the bill is too restrictive on employers, and might cause some businesses to suffer economically because of these changes. Those who support the bill have pledged to continue with their efforts until it eventually passes as part of a more employee-friendly system of workplace discrimination laws.
While this legislation is currently being debated in Congress, there still are some protections in place for pregnant workers. If your employer is discriminating against you because of your pregnancy, it is important that you speak to a knowledgeable employment law attorney about your concerns.
You may be reluctant to bring an action against your employer, but it is important that you hold it responsible for its actions. Not every case will give rise to a recovery, but it is necessary to review your claims to determine how best to proceed. No one wants to report to work each day to a workplace where such conduct is occurring. You need to protect yourself, and also prevent this conduct from happening to others in the future.