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Bryant Whitten, LLP

EEOC sides with Californian in pregnancy discrimination case

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is focusing on an issue against employers that has not always had as much attention as it deserves: pregnancy discrimination. A female California security guard sued her employer after it fired her while she was on maternity leave. When she tried to return to work after giving birth, her employer said no positions were open. However, the new mother learned that her former employer filled unopened positions with male security guards while she tried to get back to her job.

This California case is part of a discriminatory trend across the country with the respect to pregnant women. A Texas restaurant chain fired eight women because they were at least three months into their pregnancies. According to management, they had to fire the pregnant employees because doing so was in the best interests of their babies' safety.

A Florida restaurant fired two female employees because it said their pregnancy posed a liability to the company. In Michigan, the EEOC sued a juvenile detention center that carried a policy that required female employees to obtain a doctor's certificate to ensure that they were physically able to carry out their duties. The EEOC is asking for a court order to prevent the youth home from enforcing its pregnancy policy.

For the EEOC, pregnancy discrimination is a growing issue. The government agency is after employers who discriminate against pregnant women. Women who feel that they are no longer wanted after telling their employers that they are pregnant should know that they have legal rights and may wish to speak with an attorney experienced in workplace discrimination issues.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Pregnancy Discrimination In the Workplace Target of New EEOC Crackdown," Christina Wilkie, Sept. 29, 2012

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