Your Legal Rights Against Baltimore Pregnancy Discrimination

August 25, 2017
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

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According to an August 2017 article in Reuters, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed a lawsuit in Maryland federal court against a Texas-based healthcare staffing company, accusing it of firing a phlebotomist because of medical complications that occurred during her pregnancy related to her sickle cell anemia.

The lawsuit claims the health care staffing company fired the employee a day before she returned from maternity leave. The EEOC claims the staffing company terminated the female employee because the staffing agency did not want to accommodate her disability. It is not known whether the case will make its way through the court system or be settled out of court.

In 2013, Maryland changed its Fair Employment Practices Act to provide more protection for pregnant workers. The new law, called the Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities Due to Pregnancy Act (the “Maryland Pregnancy Act”), focuses on companies with 15 or more employees.

The Federal Law to Prevent Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII located at 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k), is a federal law that focuses on preventing pregnancy discrimination as it relates to:

    • Job assignments
    • Hiring
    • Firing
    • Wages
    • Promotions
    • Layoff
    • Benefits
  • Training

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an employer must treat a pregnant employee the same as an employee who is temporarily disabled. Maryland’s Pregnancy Act, however, ensures that pregnant employees will be treated the same as other temporary disabilities for all job-related purposes, including putting an affirmative obligation on the employer to explore providing reasonable accommodations to the pregnant employee when requested to do so.

Maryland’s 2013 Law to Prevent Pregnancy Discrimination

The Maryland Pregnancy Act requires a company to provide accommodations for a pregnant employee with a disability caused by pregnancy. The company must explore various accommodations with the employee but does not have to agree to proposed accommodations that would create an undue burden on the company. In complying with its employee’s request, the company must consider all possible means to provide an accommodation, including:

    • Relocating the employee to a different work area;
    • Changing the employee’s work hours or job duties;
    • Providing leave;
    • Providing electrical or mechanical aids to help the pregnant employee; or
  • Transferring the employee to a less hazardous or less strenuous job position.

Special Transfer Rules to Prevent Baltimore Pregnancy Discrimination from Occurring

Maryland’s Pregnancy Act also outlines rules regarding transfer requests made by a pregnant employee. Whenever a pregnant employee makes a request to be transferred to a less hazardous or less strenuous job position, the company must make every effort to accommodate the request.

If the company has a policy or practice of allowing transfers for temporarily disabled employees, then the employer must also allow the disabled pregnant employee to transfer.  If the company, however, does not have such a policy, practice or collecting bargaining agreement regarding transfers, they must transfer the pregnant employment unless one of the following applies:

    • It would cause the employer to provide additional employment;
    • Cause an employee to be fired;
    • Cause the transferred employee to have greater seniority than other employees; or
  • Promote an employee who does not have the job qualifications to do the job.

Contact The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford about Your Baltimore Pregnancy Discrimination Case

Pregnancy discrimination is against the law and you do not have to tolerate it.  Contact us about filing a pregnancy discrimination claim in Baltimore. We are prepared to take your case and win compensation for you. You can contact us via our website or via telephone at 410-514-6099

(image courtesy of Alesia Kazantceva)