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New York Times Report Spotlights the Extent of Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination, Even at Some of New Jersey’s Largest Employers

Recent events and recent reporting by some major media outlets have placed a New Jersey lawsuit and a New Jersey-based major corporation in the news. It has also put the issue of workplace pregnancy discrimination in New Jersey in the spotlight. Pregnancy discrimination on the job can take many different forms. Whatever the form, it is damaging (whether professionally, personally or both), inappropriate for a professional setting and should not be tolerated. Whether the discrimination you suffer is the result of malevolence or a misguided sense of “looking out for you” as a pregnant woman, it is wrong. If you’ve suffered pregnancy discrimination at work, contact a knowledgeable New Jersey discrimination attorney right away to find what legal options exist for you.

A few months ago, the New York Times reported on the prevalence of pregnancy discrimination among even the country’s largest employers. One of the workers interviewed within the article was a woman who worked as a sales representative for a major New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company. According to the rep, she was a highly successful and awarding winning member of the sales team when she became pregnant in 2010. Just weeks before the representative was scheduled to delivery her baby, the employer laid her off, allegedly as part of a “downsizing.” “On paper, I was the same professional that I was nine months earlier,” the woman told the Times. Her pregnancy “was the only thing that was different” she said.

After the lay-off, the rep eventually got a new job with the employer, but at lower pay and less potential for bonuses, according to the report. Based upon this adverse employment action, she decided to take legal action against the employer. She joined the lawsuit of another female sales rep who was already pursuing the pharmaceutical company in court. That representative, K.S., asserted in her complaint that a male co-worker informed her that she was “not going anywhere” with the company once she became pregnant. Allegedly, K.S., who had won multiple awards within the company, was demoted to the lowest sales rep tier after she returned from maternity leave.

These are just a few of the types of ways that employers can discriminate against pregnant employees. New Jersey law bars many types of employment actions relative to pregnant employees or job candidates. For example, employers may not refuse to hire a candidate due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition. The law also says that an employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant candidate “because of the biases or prejudices of co-workers, clients, customers or the public.” These can include making statements or taking actions based upon assumptions that an employee cannot handle certain job duties, either physically or mentally, just because she is pregnant. “Mommy brain” may be a source of humor among pregnant women, but an employer who takes adverse action against a pregnant worker because it assumes she cannot handle the mental challenges of her job has potentially committed actionable discrimination in New Jersey. (The same is true, of course, when it comes to physical demands.)

What do you need to succeed in a pregnancy discrimination case? You need proof that you were pregnant, that your employer took an action that affected your adversely at work, and that the employer took the action because of your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition. What your case also needs is the skill and knowledge of an experienced attorney. The diligent New Jersey employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates are here to help. Contact us to find out more about your options. Reach us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.

More blog posts:

Fired for Being Unmarried and Pregnant? You May Have a Case for Sex Discrimination, Even if You Worked for a Religious Employer, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, July 26, 2018

The Extent of Anti-Pregnancy Discrimination Protections for Working Women in New Jersey, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, April 13, 2018

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