A New Jersey woman alleges that she was fired from her job as a chiropractor due to 11-days of missed work due to pregnancy complications. In return for her suing her employer for pregnancy and gender discrimination on the job, she is being sued for allegedly breaking her employment contract.
One problem with enforcing pregnancy discrimination cases is that the law is not always congruent with laws concerning other forms of discrimination. As of right now, there are different laws covering the same type of discrimination including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title VII making it illegal to discriminate against women due to pregnancy. There is also question as to what degree the American with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act would cover maternity leave.
Part of the confusion in the law is that, though employers may be unwilling to discriminate against women per se, employers still are willing to discriminate against mothers and make determinations that mothers are not fit for certain professions. Also, pregnancy related suits often come about because employers view it as an opportunity to not have to deal with the alleged problems that pregnant workers will present to their employers. Because of the complexity of such laws, attorneys should be contacted in order for those alleging discrimination to understand all of their legal options.
Pregnant women have lost jobs because they needed to take bathroom breaks more frequently, because they needed to sit down periodically, and (in one recent instance) when a woman requested to pump breast milk at the bathroom facility of her employer. These are instances which demonstrate how some employers are not willing to make any sort of accommodation whatsoever to their pregnant employees.
Source: ABC News, “New Jersey Woman Alleges Pregnancy Discrimination While EEOC Calls for Updates to Laws,” by Susanna Kim, Feb. 16, 2012