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Can I Be Denied A Promotion Based On Pregnancy



Congratulations! You're pregnant. This is wonderful news for you and your family. You want to do everything you can to create a secure, stable home for your child. When a higher position opens up at your office or factory, you immediately sign up for consideration. What if the boss tells you you're disqualified because you're pregnant?

More women than ever are in the labor force, and more women than ever are continuing to work late into their pregnancy. Laws protecting pregnant women from job discrimination have been in place since 1978. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency that handles employment discrimination cases, including being passed over for promotion due to pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act And The FMLA

Employers who turn pregnant women down for promotions usually rationalize it by saying they need workers who will not have to take leave. Some still believe old prejudices about pregnant women. Whatever their rationale, pregnancy discrimination of any kind is in violation of two important federal laws.

In 1978, Congress passed an amendment to Title VII or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The amendment makes employers legally obligated to provide medical leave, insurance and other support to an employee who becomes pregnant. The Family and Medical Leave Act, part of the U.S. Code, entitles workers to take up to three months' unpaid leave to care for new babies, provided they meet certain criteria.

You Have Rights

An employment attorney can listen to your story and explain your rights in clear, simple language. He will also show you how to prepare and file an official complaint with the EEOC. You will need documented proof of a few facts:

  • Your employer knew you were pregnant or forced you to reveal you were pregnant.
  • You were turned down for promotion because of your pregnancy.
  • Optionally, you can provide proof that your employer has a pattern of discrimination against pregnant employees.

If the lawyers at the EEOC decide you have a case, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Your employment attorney can help you to understand what's happening and make sure you are fully compensated.

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