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is no denying that women have made considerable progress from the struggles and
discrimination they faced in the past 50 years. However, women are still facing many
obstacles in the workplace including unequal pay, sexual harassment, and gender
discrimination. One particular challenge women face is the fundamental right to
have a family. Having a baby is a joyous occasion for families,
and most employers are more than happy to make the proper accommodations for
women expecting a child. Unfortunately, there are other individuals who share
the conclusion that women contribute less while pregnant, and that may contact
the judgment that women don’t work as hard as men. Pregnancy discrimination is
an all too common and unfortunately growing threat to women’s rights. “Pregnancy
discrimination lawsuits in the United States have risen nearly 50% in the last
15 years despite the passing of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act”
(Spiggle). Furthermore, these are only the cases that women actually bring to
court, not representing the obscure number of women who are victimized, harassed,
let go, downgraded, or struck back against for being pregnant but who never actually
filed a complaint.

“The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
of 1978 (PDA) is an amendment to Title VII. It was passed in response to the
U.S. Supreme Court holdings that pregnancy discrimination does not violate the
Constitution or other federal laws” (Guide to Pregnancy Discrimination). The
PDA ensures your entitlement to work during pregnancy. As demonstrated by this
act, a business can’t decline to hire you in light of your pregnancy as long as
you are able to perform the major functions of the job. You can’t be
terminated, downgraded, or denied an advancement if you are or may end up pregnant.
Your manager can’t compel you to quit working and take pregnancy leave whenever
amid your pregnancy in the event that you’re still willing and able to perform
your job. In the event that you are incidentally unfit to perform the functions
of your job because of your pregnancy, your employer must treat you in the same
manner as any other temporarily disabled employee, by giving adjusted errands, alternative
assignments, inability leave, or leave without pay. “You have the right to be
free from pregnancy discrimination on the job or when looking for work, and the
PDA mandates that employers must treat pregnancy the same way they treat
temporary illnesses or other medical conditions” (Guide to Pregnancy

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Prior to1993, when the FMLA
(Family and Medical Leave Act) was passed, a business was not required to offer
leave to a worker who either was too sick to work or required time off to watch
over an infant, or a truly sick parent, child or life partner. If you took a
break from work for any of these reasons, you might not have a job to go back
to. “When the FMLA was passed, if you were employed for at least one year by
the company you now work for, and work at least 25 hours a week, you can take
up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave before or after the birth of your baby” (McKay).
When you return to work, your employer must reinstate you to the same position
you had prior to your pregnancy. Your employer cannot take away your benefits
and must continue your benefits during your leave. An employer cannot
discriminate against you for taking leave under the FMLA.

A very popular case that
deals with pregnancy discrimination is the “Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.”
Peggy Young was employed as a part-time delivery driver for UPS. Although all
drivers were required to have the capacity to lift things weighing up to 70
pounds as a basic capacity of their employments, the plaintiff’s obligations
for the most part included carrying lighter letters and bundles. After Young
became pregnant, she asked for a brief leave of absence. She presented a
specialist’s note with a proposal that she not lift more than 20 pounds. The company
denied her demand yet in addition denied her return to work on the basis that
lifting more than 20 pounds was an essential function of her job. Eminently,
UPS, as do numerous businesses, gave employees who had at work injuries with
light-obligation assignments. Moreover, the company consistently gave light
obligation or different housing to certain different classifications of
workers, (for example, the individuals who had handicaps under the ADA and
drivers who lost DOT accreditation and were not able to drive). Workers who did
not fall into any of these classes were not qualified for light-obligation
assignments. Since Young did not, she stayed on an unpaid time away. She at
that point filed a claim against the company, contending that the PDA expects
bosses to give pregnant employees light-obligation work in the event that they
give comparative work to different employees in different conditions. “The Supreme Court cobbled together a 6-3
majority to rule in favor of Peggy Young, a UPS employee who was not offered an
accommodation by her employer when she was
pregnant. The justices didn’t accept the broadest version of Young’s
discrimination argument, but they certainly made it clear that nobody can be
treated as she was by an employer without recourse to the courts” (Lithwick).

case is the “Garcia Hernandez v. Chipotle.” Doris Garcia Hernandez was a former
employee at a Washington, D.C., Chipotle restaurant. She claimed that she had
received positive feedback about her performance before she announced that she
was pregnant. Hernandez guaranteed that in the wake of learning of her
pregnancy, her supervisor yelled at her for taking a long time in the bathroom,
denied her access to drinking water during her 4-hour shifts and denied her
request to leave early for a prenatal appointment. Hernandez was purportedly
terminated in an open territory of the restaurant before customers and
employees for “not giving 100 percent” to Chipotle. She asserted, in
any case, that she was really terminated as a result of her pregnancy. The jury
for the situation, which documented in the U.S. District Court for the District
of Columbia in 2014, granted Doris Garcia Hernandez $550,000 in compensatory
and punitive damages after determining that her former manager did indeed terminate
her due to her pregnancy. “This is a victory for working women. It sends a clear message
to employers that pregnancy is not incompatible with the workplace”

A third case involved Motel 6 being sued by the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The suit claims that Adrian Johnson,
who worked at a New Orleans Motel 6, informed management that she was pregnant
and that her pregnancy was viewed as high-risk. On March 1, 2015, Johnson
called her manager to educate him that she would be not able work that day
because of a pregnancy-related sickness. The supervisor disclosed to Johnson
that he was adjusting the work schedule and taking her off the calendar for the
whole week, despite the fact that she just required one free day. After six
days, Johnson endeavored to call the supervisor to ask when she would be put
back on the schedule. Moments later, she got a text message from him expressing
that she was being placed on a leave of absence until the point that her
pregnancy was over. Johnson did not ask to be placed on a leave of absence. EEOC
charged that Motel 6 set Johnson on constrained time away without pay because
of her pregnancy, infringing upon Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “Title VII prohibits an employer from
“discriminating against any individual with respect to…compensation,
terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s
sex. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) amended Title VII to
include discrimination based on pregnancy and related medical conditions” (The
National Law Review). EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Motel 6
from engaging in unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex in the future, as
well as compensatory and punitive damages for Johnson, and other relief the
court deems proper.

“This lawsuit should remind everyone
unmistakably that federal law protects pregnant workers from such
treatment,” said Jim Sacher, regional attorney for EEOC’s Houston
District. “The fact that a manager would send a text explicitly suspending
an employee because she is pregnant highlights the need for EEOC to continue
its vigorous enforcement of pregnancy discrimination law – and that’s what we’ll
do.” Keith Hill, New Orleans Field Office director, added, “EEOC will
aggressively investigate allegations of pregnancy discrimination and pursue
meaningful relief in order to eliminate this type of unlawful conduct.”

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