In this day and age, it is hard to believe that there are still businesses and companies that think it is appropriate to discriminate against pregnant women. Sadly, there are, as evidence by a recent case in which a Milwaukee medical-staffing agency had to pay a $148,000 fine to resolve a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims that HCS Medical Staffing Inc. violated employment laws because it fired a woman without cause after she had just given birth. Apparently, employees of HCS made derogatory comments toward a bookkeeper who was with child and then sent her a letter terminating her when she was in the hospital after delivering her baby.
The $148,000 represents the pay the woman would have received, plus interest and punitive and compensatory damages.
Discriminating on the basis of pregnancy is illegal under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, because it amounts to sex discrimination, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although the woman in this case was fired, discrimination does not have to be that extreme — it can be non-pregnant employees receiving better treatment or a significant and observable change in approach to a pregnant employee.
Hopefully, nothing bad like this will ever happen to you if you or a loved one becomes pregnant, but just in case it does, you should know pregnant women do have rights in situations like these and that it is very important those rights be respected.
Alan Olson writes this web-log to provide helpful information regarding employment law cases. He practices employment law throughout the United States from his offices in New Berlin, Wisconsin. Attorney Olson may be contacted at [email protected] with questions about the information posted here or for advice on specific pregnancy discrimination claims.
The Pioneer Press, “Milwaukee company to pay $148K for firing new mom,” March 3, 2012