The United States may be entering a new decade, but the same discrimination of old still runs rampant in the workplace. Women face a myriad of misogyny, but one of the most impactful can be losing their jobs over a pregnancy.
These illegal firings impact women’s employment and economic status on a large scale, while causing women and families alike to suffer from the immediate loss of their paycheck. If you’re dealing with a wrongful termination situation, then here’s everything you need to know.
Don’t Panic, Prepare
Any period of unemployment can drastically alter your life. From the loss of steady pay to your saving’s situation, it’s natural to find yourself panicking. However, it’s vital that you remain as calm as possible in the coming weeks so you can focus on your options.
That’s probably the last thing you want to hear, but it’s essential to forming your defense. Start to look through any emails and make a record of conversations that include discriminatory attitudes towards your pregnancy from supervisors. Compare your treatment to how your company meets the medical needs of other workers, like those with physical impairments, as well.
It also helps to hunt down company policy on the issue of medical leave and pregnancy. As you prepare your defense, there are also valuable resources at your disposal. The ACLU’s website includes a variety of resources with practical solutions, while www.workplacefairness.org can fill you in on state and federal protections. This also helps you file a charge with the EEOC, which needs to be done in 180 days.
With your case slowly forming, the next step is to hire an attorney for pregnancy discrimination as quickly as possible. That might sound counterintuitive with the loss of your paycheck, but you’re going to need legal aid to fight this level of discrimination. Your attorney may even work with you in the meantime on cost given your circumstances. When in doubt, always ask.
The goal of preparing your own information in the section above was to help fully articulate the situation to your attorney. This lays down a very basic foundation, giving your lawyer avenues to pursue the minute they begin working for you. It’s a valuable time saver that helps your financial situation in the long run.
Remember, pregnancy discrimination is federally illegal under FMLA laws as well as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. In many cases, states also levy consequences against business found guilty. You have the right to not only be a pregnant woman, but to seek compensation when your employer treats you unfairly for it.
The Issue of Reemployment
Many women fear retaliation after filing a complaint with their employer, but it’s important to remember that any actions taken against you for the complaint constitute as more discrimination. It can be anxiety inducing to head back to work after taking your employer to court, but there’s nothing they can do about it without another lawsuit on their hands.
If you do feel uneasy after the fact, continue to work and collect your paycheck as you seek employment elsewhere. Sites like Indeed and LinkedIn are excellent ways to find similar positions with other companies who treat women with respect and dignity.