How to Prove Pregnancy Discrimination

Despite pregnancy discrimination being illegal in the United States of America, it happens in everyday life in many ways. However, when pregnancy discrimination occurs at work, the victim may have legal recourse. Someone who falls victim to pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can get justice and compensation. But how can you prove that you experienced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace? Below, you will find information on how to prove pregnancy discrimination. 

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Before discussing how to prove pregnancy discrimination, it is crucial that we first explain the meaning of pregnancy discrimination. This form of discrimination arises when an employer treats an employee or prospective employee differently based on her pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination at work is quite common.

In the workplace, pregnancy discrimination can take many forms. For example, an employee may be passed on a promotion or fired because of her pregnancy. A prospective employee may be denied a job because she is pregnant. In other words, pregnancy discrimination can occur at any time in the employment relationship.

Many people can speak to instances where they experienced pregnancy discrimination. However, experiencing pregnancy discrimination and proving a pregnancy discrimination claim are two different things. 

Proving Pregnancy Discrimination

Proving pregnancy discrimination entails showing that you suffered an “adverse employment action” such as being denied a job, being fired, having your pay cut, being denied benefits, or being denied a promotion because of your pregnancy. You can prove that your pregnancy was a motivating reason for the adverse employment action in several ways. But regardless of how you chose to prove your claim, you must at least show that it is more likely than not that your pregnancy was a motivating reason for the adverse employment action. This standard of proof is known as “preponderance of the evidence.”

Direct Evidence

You have direct evidence if an employer openly admitted to acting with discriminatory intent. For example, if your employer said that they did not promote you because they were worried you would take too much time off because of your pregnancy, that is direct evidence of pregnancy discrimination. However, often, employers will not admit that pregnancy was a factor in a decision taken against an employee or prospective employee. 

Circumstantial Evidence

If you do not have direct evidence of pregnancy discrimination, you can use what is known as circumstantial evidence. Generally, this type of evidence consists of proof that an employer did not act in a manner that makes business sense. It consists of proof that an employer diverged from their usual policies or practices or changed their behavior. Below are some examples of circumstantial evidence you can use to prove your pregnancy discrimination claim;

  • Suspicious timing. Suppose you were fired just before you were to begin your pregnancy leave. This could persuade a jury that your pregnancy motivated the decision.
  • Evidence showing the employer didn’t follow the usual termination procedure. If written warnings are part of the employer’s termination plan and they failed to give you such a warning, this can be proof of pregnancy discrimination. 
  • The employer’s “reasons” are lies. If the employer said you were being fired because you do not possess a certain skill set but hired someone less qualified or with the same qualifications as you, this could be proof of pregnancy discrimination.

Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation

If you believe you have a valid pregnancy discrimination case against an employer, contact our experienced and dedicated New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm for a free case evaluation.

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