Michigan Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

Pregnancy should be a time of great joy and excitement for expectant parents. It can also be stressful planning for the arrival of a new — and demanding — family member. A woman’s choice to continue working during pregnancy can be a complicated one.

Some women have no desire to stop working or slow down while pregnant. These women may love their jobs, enjoy the camaraderie of their co-workers, and even appreciate the distraction from all the pregnancy planning. Other women may choose to stop working or slow down. Some may wish to stop working but are unable to afford it.

Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination Is Unlawful

Regardless of the category you fall into, it is your legal right to continue working during pregnancy if you want to and if you need to. Some jobs require minimal to no accommodation for expectant and new mothers to perform their job duties. For example, if you work flexible hours and spend most of your time seated in an office, your job may require no accommodations.

However, if you work in a field that involves heavy lifting, standing for long hours, or working near dangerous chemicals or substances, your employer will likely need to make changes to accommodate you during pregnancy. Failure to do so may constitute unlawful pregnancy discrimination.

If you were terminated or treated unfairly by your employer based on your pregnancy, it is in your best interest to seek immediate legal counsel. The experienced Michigan workplace discrimination lawyers at Sommers Schwartz, P.C., will review your case and help you determine how to proceed. Contact us today for a confidential consultation

What Is Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination?

Workplace pregnancy discrimination occurs when a female worker is treated unfairly based on her pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, such as miscarriage or gestational diabetes. This type of discrimination is unlawful in any part of the employment or hiring process, including during the interview, on-boarding period, termination, or maternity leave.

Besides refusing to hire you or wrongfully terminating you based on pregnancy or childbirth, your employer may be liable for pregnancy discrimination if they fail to provide reasonable accommodations, including:

  • Failing to create a flexible work schedule for you.
  • Refusing to allow voluntary shift substitutions.
  • Failing to create new or reassigned job assignments.
  • Failing to modify your workspace.

Michigan and Federal Pregnancy Employment Discrimination Laws

Women are protected against discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth by both state and federal laws. In Michigan, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits any employer from discriminating against employees and applicants based on their sex.

Furthermore, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination specific to pregnancy and childbirth. Under this Act, an employer cannot force a pregnant woman to take maternity leave or to stop performing her job for an extended period of time.

Pregnancy Employment Discrimination Laws in Michigan

If you have been discriminated against at work based on pregnancy or childbirth, you can file an administrative claim with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). The filing must be done within 180 days of the incident for a successful claim. Following an MDCR investigation, you may be entitled to receive compensation for:

  • Lost income.
  • Hiring or employment reinstatement.
  • Legal fees.
  • Emotional pain and suffering.
  • Punitive damages.

Federal Laws for Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Employment discrimination cases that reach the federal level are investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which also enforces federal discrimination laws. As with MDCR claims, you have 180 days from the discriminatory incident in which to file a complaint with the EEOC. This timeline may be increased to 300 days if the discrimination is also prohibited by a state or local agency.

If your federal discrimination claim is successful, you may be able to recover significant compensation under the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Eligible damages may include:

  • Lost income.
  • Expenses related to hiring.
  • Emotional pain and suffering.
  • Medical expenses if you lose your health insurance because of the discrimination.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages.

You can bring a state lawsuit without first filing an MDCR claim. However, you cannot bring a federal lawsuit without first filing a complaint with the EEOC and obtaining a Notice of Right to Sue.

Contact Sommers Schwartz, P.C., Today

If you have been discriminated against due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Michigan pregnancy discrimination attorney immediately. At Sommers Schwartz, P.C., our highly skilled employment discrimination team has an impressive track record of obtaining the compensation our clients deserve in a timely manner. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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