It’s hard to imagine in 2018 that women would still be facing discrimination at work for something as basic as pregnancy. The last thing a woman who is about to bring a child into the world should have to worry about is whether or not she will be able to support that child when they are born. It is the belief of our legal team that even one woman who fears losing employment due to pregnancy is one woman too many.
That’s why it is shocking to hear the details of a lawsuit filed by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a nursing center in North Carolina. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, claims that twice in just over a year’s time (between November 2014 and December 2015) the nursing center refused to accommodate pregnancy-related work restrictions for two certified nursing assistants.
Each woman cited a simple lifting restriction as cause for their request for job accommodations or modifications. And each request was allegedly rejected on the grounds that the center could not accommodate them. Further, the center fired both employees, one after being put on unpaid leave, allegedly as a result of their accommodation requests.As our experienced pregnancy discrimination attorneys in Orange County know, such actions fly in the face of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which broadened the definition of sex discrimination to include pregnancy. It states that women who are pregnant or dealing with a health issue related to pregnancy “shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.”
This last part is of particular relevancy to the case at hand as plaintiffs have alleged that other nursing assistants had similar restrictions accommodated for on the job due to injuries they sustained. Plaintiffs also claim the facility had a mechanical lifting machine designed to lift patients, giving no viable reason why their lifting restrictions could not be accommodated. Therefore it can be argued that the requests made were reasonable, would not have caused undue hardship to the center, and certainly would not warrant dismissal of the employees.
In California, pregnancy rights are reinforced by Gov. Code, sec. 12945; Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, sec. 11035, which states that it is unlawful for an employer “to refuse to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee for a condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, if the employee so requests, with the advice of the employee’s health care provider.” Still, despite the law clearly being on the side of employees, employers will try to push the boundaries of the law for their own benefit. That is why it is essential to have qualified employment attorneys on your side as well, to make sure you are equipped with strong understanding and extensive experience of discrimination cases when you build your own case. Our attorneys are dedicated to fighting for you and your employment rights.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Scottish Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Sued by EEOC for Pregnancy Discrimination, March 7, 2018, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
More Blog Entries:
Pregnancy Discrimination Still Kicking in 2017, Sept. 6, 2017, Orange County Employment Lawyers Blog