Pregnancy Discrimination at Work: A New Epidemic
My name is Robert Ottinger and I’m an employment lawyer. For 20 years I’ve been helping employees and we have offices in New York and California.
Trying to work while pregnant or as a new mother has never been harder. There’s a misconception in America that a woman can’t be both a good mother and an effective worker at the same time. A recent New York Times article said it well, pregnancy discrimination is rampant in America’s largest companies. Pregnant woman today get sidelined and worse, when they complain about it, they often get fired. For example, Otisha Woolbright, she was featured in that article and she asked her boss at Walmart if she could stop lifting heavy objects due to her pregnancy. Her boss though said no, “lift or leave”, and she knew though if she left, it’d be really hard to find a job while she’s pregnant. So she just kept on lifting.
But after she had her second near miscarriage, she asked for maternity leave and Walmart fired her three days later. Rachel Mountis, another example, she was also in that article. She had a similar experience in her job at Merck, the big pharmaceutical company. She was rising up the ranks, getting promoted, winning awards all before she got pregnant and hat changed when she asked for maternity leave and she was fired just a few weeks before her due date.
There’s a strong network of federal and state laws that protect women from pregnancy discrimination. It is 100% illegal to fire a woman because she’s pregnant. Now if this has happened to you, you are legally protected, but you need to take action against the company.
Pregnancy-related firings normally happen in other one of four circumstances: (1) after the company first learns about the pregnancy or (2) after the pregnant employee asks for time off or for an accommodation for her pregnancy, (3) while on maternity leave or (4) within the first year after returning from leave.
If you suspect that you were fired because of your pregnancy, fill out the pregnancy discrimination form on our website. This form is on our website or you can also click the card above the video. If you fill out this form, it will help us determine if we can help you. All the information on the form is confidential and it won’t be shared with anyone. Thanks for watching this video and remember, if your rights are violated at work, call The Ottinger Firm.