pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

Protecting Against Pregnancy Discrimination

When you’re discriminated against for being pregnant, you’re also being discriminated against because of your gender. It’s important to contact a Dallas employment attorney if you are experiencing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Pregnancy does not and should not have an impact on your work product; thus, Congress had to instate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) as a 1978 amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make this explicit. The purpose of the amendment was to combat those who wished to discriminate against women by veiling it as discrimination of a temporary status: pregnancy. In all, the PDA is an incredibly important piece of the law for preventing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Discriminating based on pregnancy is sex discrimination which fits into the language of Title VII but, thankfully, is made explicit by this amendment.

One case that shows why the PDA is so important is Geduldig v. Aiello. 417 U.S. 484 (1974). That case held that a state law barring pregnancy-related benefits for common work disability was constitutional. The Court rationalized that pregnancy was an objective characteristic distinct from sex and, thus, distinct from sex discrimination. Id. at 496 n.20. This case was followed by General Elec. Co. v. Gilbert held in 1976 that pregnancy discrimination was still not covered by Title VII sex discrimination. 429 U.S. 125 (1976). These two cases are clearly no longer good law and have become a focal point for describing why some laws need to be explicit to prevent pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Failures by the Supreme Court, such as in Gilbert and Geduldig, show why the PDA was a necessary, explicit amendment to Title VII. 

We have prepared a three-part series on pregnancy discrimination: Pre, During, and Post Pregnancy. We will post these blogs over the next two weeks. If you believe you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination or some other form of gender discrimination, please contact a Dallas employment attorney. 

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