Not every workplace in Indiana welcomes the news that an employee has become pregnant. Since pregnant women have historically experienced discrimination at work, the federal government created the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This law bars many employers from firing or demoting pregnant employees, forcing them to go on leave, altering their health care benefits, taking away paid time off or refusing to allow workers to get their jobs back after they return from leave. Essentially, the law requires employers to treat pregnancy in the same manner as any other short-term disability that employees might experience. When discrimination does occur, a process is in place to review complaints.
A worker experiencing pregnancy discrimination might choose to approach human resources and report concerns about mistreatment. Although some employees might not trust their companies to respond appropriately, an employer that retaliates against a complainant is violating the PDA. Outside the workplace, employees can prepare a formal complaint for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This complaint must include the person’s name, employer information and evidence about the discrimination.
Then the EEOC will investigate the claim and inform the employer about the filing. If the agency deems the complaint to be valid, it could attempt to broker a settlement between the complainant and his or her employer. In some cases, the EEOC might choose to litigate the case directly or issue the complainant a right to sue letter. The employee then has 90 days to file a discrimination lawsuit.
At any point during this process, a person could consult an attorney. A legal analysis of the evidence might reveal whether an employee has a viable workplace discrimination case. A lawyer might assist with negotiations with the employer, prepare the formal written complaint or manage litigation that might become necessary.