Many of the protections afforded to employees by the law are also applicable during the hiring process. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, applicants for a job need to be considered without regard to their race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion or age. In states, like California, that protection is extended to those job applicants who are pregnant during the hiring process.
As such, it is unlawful for a potential employer to deny an applicant a job on the basis of their pregnancy. It is important for applicants who are pregnant during the hiring process to be aware of these protections and for them to hold accountable any employer who uses their pregnancy against them in the hiring process.
What Rights Do Pregnant Job Applicants and Workers Have?
Under federal law, pregnant applicants are currently protected from discrimination in all stages of the employment process. That includes hiring, firing and compensations decision. The protections stem from several different sources of Federal law including the Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The protections offered through Title VII protect employees or potential employees from discrimination on the basis of their gender. This protection applies in situations where a potential employee is discriminated against due to their pregnancy. Title VII applies to any employers in the country who employ more than 15 people.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act goes on to expand these protections offered to pregnant applicants. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.”
What Steps Can Be Taken If You Were Subjected To Hiring Discrimination?
If an applicant feels that they have been denied a job opportunity due to their pregnancy status then they should immediately seek to file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC is the U.S. Government agency that is responsible for making sure federal anti-pregnancy laws are being enforced. Generally, for claims based on Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, applicants will have 180 days from the date of the incident to file a claim with the EEOC.
Filing a claim with the EEOC will prompt an independent investigation. The EEOC will begin its investigation once an employee files an administrative charge through their offices. It is important to note that the EEOC may contact the potential employer and may make site visits to the workplace and conduct interviews. and the parties’ willingness to be cooperative in the investigation. Once the EEOC has conducted a full investigation, they will send both parties a letter stating the outcome and conclusions of the investigation.
If the EEOC determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that the applicant was subjected to discrimination, they will provide the complainant with a Right to Sue notice. This permits the former employee to pursue a lawsuit against their former employer and recover damages. Filing a claim with the EEOC is a necessary step prior to filing a claim in court.
If an applicant feels that they are were subjected to any form of discrimination during the hiring process then they should consult with an attorney who is experienced in labor law immediately. The governing laws are complex and there are strict regulations regulating the process for filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, there are strict time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, as to when a lawsuit can be filed. The experienced attorneys at Shegerian Conniff are ready to hold your employer accountable, fight for your legal rights, and seek justice. Click here to contact us today or call us at 310-322-7500 for a free consultation.