To demonstrate pregnancy discrimination under Title VII, a woman must show four elements: (1) She is or was pregnant and her employer knew; (2) she was qualified for the job; (3) she suffered an adverse employment action and (4) there was a connection between her pregnancy and the adverse employment action.
(1) She is or was pregnant and her employer knew: This is particularly important because if the employer is not aware that a woman is pregnant, then it is nearly impossible to show that the employer discriminated against the woman due to her pregnancy. The employer must have notice of the pregnancy to legally discriminate against a pregnant woman. In most cases, notification is as simple as telling a manager.
(2) She was qualified for the job: To prove this element it could be as simple as working in the position for for an extended period of time.
(3) She suffered an adverse employment action: There are many different adverse employment actions that can be made, including but not limited to: reduction of hours, termination, demotion, being paid less and the creation of a hostile work environment.
(4) There was a connection between her pregnancy and the adverse employment decision: Timeliness is an important element the courts look at. They look to see when the employer was put on notice of the pregnancy and when the adverse action happened. For example: if a woman told her manager she was pregnant and the next day she was told the employer was reducing her hours, that could be a sign to the courts that the employer was discriminating against her because of her pregnancy.
This is exactly what happened in the 2017 Pennsylvania case, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bob Evans Farms. 2017 WL 3431562. An employer took away a pregnant woman’s hours because he believed that her “need to leave was imminent” and wanted to ensure the restaurant was well staffed for when that happened. The woman wanted to work until she gave birth and indicated her availability through several means, including telling managers and co-workers she was available and putting her name on shift cards. Even though she took all those measures, the employer did not schedule her because she was pregnant.
Here, in fulfillment of the first two elements: the employer knew she was pregnant and she was qualified for the job because she had worked at the restaurant for a couple of years. For the third element: the adverse employment action was the employer taking away her hours. And the final element: she was taken off the work schedule because she was pregnant.
If you believe your Employer discriminated against because of your pregnancy, please contact Koller Law. Call (215) 545-8917 for a free phone consultation today.