If you have been wrongfully terminated due to pregnancy discrimination in the Chicago area, the accomplished employment discrimination attorneys at Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, LLC are well-prepared to protect your rights. Both federal and state laws protect your right to remain employed for as long as want during your pregnancy. Your rights to be reasonably accommodated for your condition are also legally protected. If you have been wrongfully terminated for being pregnant, we will work steadfastly to see that you are fully compensated for your employer’s misconduct.
The Laws That Protect the Right to Work During Pregnancy
On the federal level, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1979, added as an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from making negative employment decisions based on pregnancy.
The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) pregnancy discrimination law reinforces the federal law by forbidding any Illinois employer with even a single employee from discriminating against an employee based on pregnancy, childbirth, or conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. This caveat applies to wrongful termination as well as to harassment or unfair treatment on the job. It is notable that this law also makes it illegal to wrongfully terminate an employee who is perceived to be pregnant even if she is not.
This means that if your employer fired you because they assumed that your recent weight gain was evidence of gestation, your digestive upset was morning sickness or your frequent visits to the bathroom as related to pregnancy, you can file a lawsuit for wrongful termination for pregnancy discrimination even though you are not actually pregnant.
In Most Cases, Wrongful Termination Due to Pregnancy Is Disguised
Because most employers know they are violating the law if they terminate employees because they are pregnant, many cloak their reasons for wrongful termination as something else, e.g. concern for your health (“You shouldn’t be on your feet so much while you’re expecting”).
Other unfair tactics may include comments like “We can’t have you greeting important clients looking like that,” or “How can you sell clothes you can’t even fit into?” Don’t let being stunned or embarrassed by such comments keep you from contacting our pregnancy discrimination attorneys. As long as you know that you are meeting reasonable expectations of your job, you may be able to bring a claim against your employer.
When Wrongful Termination Is a Retaliatory Act
It’s important to remember that it is also illegal for an employer to fire you for complaining about any type of discrimination, including unfair treatment due to pregnancy.
If you feel that your employer is terminating you because you have spoken up about working conditions that you fear may harm your unborn baby or about your company’s refusal to accommodate your needs during pregnancy, give us a call so we can begin filing the necessary paperwork to put you on a path to reclaiming your job and/or the damages you are owed.
How Our Practice Will Help Prove Your Case
Our sharp pregnancy discrimination attorneys know precisely how best to put a winning case together as we have done successfully so many times before. We will:
- Examine your performance reviews and attendance records closely
- Review all evidence you have in your possession
- Speak to witnesses to uncover discriminatory or misogynistic attitudes
We needn’t have direct evidence of wrongful termination due to pregnancy discrimination to prove your case. In some cases, circumstantial evidence, frequently based on a timeline is sufficient. For example, suppose you were up for a raise and a promotion until the day you announced your pregnancy, and then were suddenly told that the company’s bottom line was at risk and you would have to be let go.
When Underlying Company Policies Are to Blame
Company policies themselves may also be discriminatory. If pregnant employees are routinely sent to work in the back, for instance, or obviously the first to be laid off when the company profits decrease, your company may be following policies that are illegal by nature.
How long do I have to file my claim for wrongful termination?
All federal claims of discrimination must go through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Typically you have 180 days to file your wrongful termination claim, but in some cases are given 300 days to do so.
Damages Our Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys Will Fight to Win
If you have been wrongfully terminated from your workplace, you are entitled to damages that will replace the income you have already lost and the months of income ahead of you that you intended to work until your due date. We will also seek damages for lost benefits and bonuses.
You also may be entitled damages for attorney fees, court costs, and the extreme stress you have endured. As part of your settlement, we may also fight to have your employer hold your job for when you return to work after the birth of your child, and for the company to alter its discriminatory policies.
Contact Our Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys Today
In Chicago and throughout the United States, you have the right to continue to work while pregnant. No employer has the right to fire you for carrying a child. Contact our office to schedule a consultation! Our wrongful termination lawyers are determined to protect that right and to do everything in our power to win you the compensation you need and deserve to support your growing family.