A previous post on this blog discussed how thousands of people across the country, including in California, file pregnancy discrimination claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) every year. The EEOC is a federal agency charged with enforcing the federal laws prohibiting various types of employment discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination. To update the previous post, the number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed with the EEOC are now finalized and available for the fiscal year 2018.
The volume of new claims dropped somewhat, from 3,174 in 2017 down to 2,790 in 2018. On the other hand, the total amount of payments collected on behalf of employees rose, from $15.0 million in 2017 to $16.6 million in 2018, an increase of about 10%.
Overall, 3,340 pregnancy discrimination claims in which the EEOC had a role reached resolution. Of these, over 60% ended with the EEOC finding no reasonable cause to allege pregnancy discrimination. However, the percentage of cases in which the EEOC did find reasonable cause reached its highest point since 2011, at 5.5%. In terms of raw numbers, there were 183 cases in which the EEOC found reasonable cause, the third highest figure since 2011.
It is important for residents of Northern California to remember, however, that a finding of no reasonable cause does not mean that an employee cannot sue. Moreover, the EEOC enforces federal law, and California has additional state-level protections available to pregnant workers.
Judging by the statistics, pregnancy discrimination remains a common problem in the workplace. In fact, it seems that regulators are willing to take such allegations more seriously. Those in Fresno and other communities in the area who feel they have been victims of pregnancy discrimination should consider taking appropriate legal action.