Workplace discrimination based on a woman’s pregnancy status or related medical conditions is illegal in South Carolina. Despite the federal and state prohibitions against pregnancy discrimination, many employers continue to engage in this type of unlawful conduct.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a federal law that was passed in 1978. Under this law, employers are forbidden from discriminating against workers based on their pregnancies, childbirths, or related medical conditions. Despite this law, all types of businesses routinely discriminate against pregnant workers. Some attempt to force pregnant women out of their jobs. Others refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to them so that they can continue performing their job duties.
The number of pregnancy discrimination charges that were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission increased by nearly half from 1997 to 2011. Almost 6,000 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed by women with the EEOC in 2011. Among the women who filed charges, 66% lost their cases in court. Proving pregnancy discrimination can be difficult because the employers may try to blame their adverse job actions on performance issues rather than on the workers’ pregnancies or related conditions.
Women who believe that their employers are discriminating against them based on their pregnancies or related medical conditions might benefit from consulting with experienced employment discrimination attorneys. The lawyers might explain the types of evidence that they should gather to support their claims and walk them through the complaint process. Women might want to obtain copies of their personnel files to show that they have consistently received good performance reviews until their employers learned that they were pregnant. They might also want to save copies of emails, text messages, and other documentary evidence of their employers’ discriminatory actions. Women should document each instance of discrimination with the names of all witnesses, the date, and information about what occurred.
The employment law attorneys might review this information and help their clients file their discrimination charges with the EEOC. If their clients are given leave to file pregnancy discrimination lawsuits, the attorneys may file civil complaints with the courts and litigate on behalf of their clients to recover damages.