At Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, our employee rights attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of women in the workplace. One of our primary focuses is on ridding Illinois of the pregnancy discrimination that should be a thing of the past. Surely women who are pregnant or plan to have children have every right to the same job opportunities as the rest of the population.
How Our Legal Team Can Help You Fight Pregnancy Discrimination
Our pregnancy discrimination attorneys are well aware that, in spite of state and federal regulations meant to protect pregnant employees from unfair treatment, too many women are subjected to various forms of discrimination related to pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related medical conditions. If you are suffering the inequity and humiliation of such misconduct, contact our legal team for a consultation.
Once you become our client, we will listen carefully to the details of your case and:
- Handle all contacts with your employer’s attorneys, and insurance providers
- Gather evidence (e.g. emails, text messages, hand-written notes, witness statements)
- Prepare any necessary legal documents in a timely fashion
- Determine which strategy will work best in your case
Though we are skilled negotiators who may be able to win you a meaningful out-of-court settlement, we are always well-prepared for a courtroom battle. Because we realize that pregnancy discrimination may be causing you financial as well as emotional distress, we will not charge you any attorneys’ fees until we recover damages.
Our Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys Also Work Proactively with Employers
Our legal team also fights pregnancy discrimination among enlightened employers. If you are a business owner who wants to take steps to prevent discrimination in your company, our discrimination lawyers have the tools to help you keep your business current. We will establish protocol, prepare employee handbooks, and suggest methods to hold your staff accountable for errors of judgment or inappropriate behavior.
Types of Pregnancy Discrimination
All employment discrimination based on pregnancy is illegal, including:
- Refusal to interview or hire
- Insufficient compensation for job tasks
- Unfair job evaluations
- Refusal to make accommodations
- Refusal to allow medical leave
- Denial of training opportunities, favorable assignments, promotions or benefits
- Elimination of an employee’s position during her leave
- Wrongful termination
Harassment of pregnant employees is also considered a kind of pregnancy discrimination. Unwanted teasing, posted cartoons or caricatures or unsavory comments about your condition may also be illegal. While one offhand remark is not likely to be considered discriminatory, a generally uncomfortable or toxic workplace environment may be grounds for a lawsuit.
It’s important to be aware that pregnancy discrimination, like other forms of discrimination, is often disguised as reasonable behavior. This is why you need a powerful legal presence at your side. Our discrimination attorneys have the know-how that comes with experience. We know precisely how to unmask the ulterior motives of unscrupulous employers.
Accommodations You Are Entitled to as a Pregnant Woman
If you are pregnant, your medical condition entitles you to:
- More frequent bathroom breaks
- Occasional rest breaks or breaks for water
- Restructure or reassignment of a particular task
- A modified work schedule
Your employer must also make reasonable accommodations for nursing mothers. These include break times in a private, peaceful area (not a bathroom) in which they can express milk.
If You Are Fighting Pregnancy Discrimination, the Law Is on Your Side
Both federal and Illinois state laws uphold the illegality of pregnancy discrimination.
These laws include:
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include pregnancy and related health conditions in its anti-discrimination statutes but which applies only to companies with 15 or more employees
- Law Against Discrimination (LAD) which covers all employers, regardless of staff size
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which permits workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave for pregnancy and related health conditions, allows both parents to take unpaid leave to care for a newborn, and ensures that workers on pregnancy leave accrue seniority/ employment benefits during their unpaid time away from the job.
- New Illinois Pregnancy Discrimination Law is the 2015 amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act, establishing pregnancy as an independent legally protected classification
These laws require that employers treat pregnant employees no differently than other workers with medical issues. In other words, pregnant workers are entitled to the same accommodations as any employees with medical conditions or disabilities.
What does a successful outcome mean?
If our claim of pregnancy discrimination is validated by a positive verdict or settlement, you can expect to receive damages for any of the following that apply:
- Lost income, including lost bonuses or raises
- Reinstatement if you were wrongfully terminated
- Promotion if you were demoted or failed to get a deserved promotion
- Medical costs for any physical damage resulting from lack of accommodations
- Emotional and/or physical pain and suffering
If you have been demoted, reassigned, fired or harassed because of your pregnancy, our pregnancy discrimination attorneys are on your side. We are fully committed to providing you with strong legal representation and assisting you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys Today
Getting in touch with us soon will allow us to strike preemptively, organizing our data and developing our strategy before your employer has time to cover his/her tracks. Don’t let yourself be bullied. Federal and Illinois law and our attorneys are on your side.