A pregnancy should not mean the end of a woman’s job. Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is still quite common.
Reporters for CNet recently found at least seven women who are filing wrongful termination lawsuits against tech giant Amazon, saying they were fired from the company’s warehouses after their managers learned that they were pregnant. One of the named warehouses is in California.
Many reports in recent years have detailed long hours and relatively low pay in Amazon’s fulfillment centers as the company expands into seemingly every corner of the marketplace. The company is famous for offering fast shipping to its customers, but critics say that warehouse workers are paying the price by having to work faster in tougher conditions.
Of course, it’s not necessarily illegal to ask workers to work harder. However, it is illegal to fire women simply because they become pregnant.
Since the 1960s, California and federal laws have prohibited employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sex or gender. In the 1970s, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act made it clear that these protections apply to women employees who are pregnant.
It is illegal for employers to fire, demote or otherwise take adverse action against women employees solely because they are, or could become pregnant. If a woman employee is temporarily unable to perform her job duties because of a pregnancy-or childbirth-related condition, the employer must accommodate her like any other temporarily disabled employee.
Women who believe they were fired, retaliated against or otherwise wrongfully discriminated against because of pregnancy may have legal options. An employment law attorney with experience in discrimination and wrongful termination can advise workers of their rights.