Saturday, January 14, 2006

Pregnancy discrimination at GH

Kari Wuhrer was fired by General Hospital, her last airdate was in November (that long?). She played Reese on the soap, she was involved with Sonny (the mobster, she was a rehabilitated FBI'er). Frankly I despised her character and apparently knew way before she did that her character was not long for this world (as is the case with most of Sonny's women)
She is now suing alleging pregnancy discrimination.

Washington Post reports that more and more women are fighting back against pregnancy discrimination. Before I wrote a paper on the matter in law school, I did not realize this form of discrimination was prohibited. Virginia does not incorporate pregnancy into its discrimination statute therefore plaintiffs have to go to Federal Court. Federal court is more expensive for clients, although a complaint can be lodged to the EEOC which has to act on the complaint within 120 days or something really quick (j/k). Below I have some legal information regarding the PDA (only information not advice please contact me directly if you need legal advice).

FOR YOUR INFORMATION- employers should not ask about marriage or children in an interview or attempt to glean that information in the application process unless it is based on a bona fide occupational qualification
29 CFR 1604.7 PRE-EMPLOYMENT INQUIRIES pre-employment inquiry may ask ``Male........., Female.........''; or ``Mr. Mrs. Miss,'' provided that the inquiry is made in good faith for a nondiscriminatory purpose. Any pre-employment inquiry in connection with prospective employment which expresses directly or indirectly any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to sex shall be unlawful unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.

This website has interesting information on Title VII, Civil Rights Act, from a business perspective.
Finally- this from Baylor's business school- a good summary of the act.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 1. Prohibits termination or refusal to hire or promotion of women solely because they are pregnant. 2. Bars fixed pregnancy leave conditions. 3. Protects reinstatement rights of women on pregnancy leave.

4. Treats pregnancy as any other disability under fringe benefit plans (very relevant to most pregnant women since some are told 'disability is different than maternity leave therefore do not qualify for disability benefits supplied by the company').
29 CFR 1604.10 Employment policies relating to pregnancy and childbirth.
(a) A written or unwritten employment policy or practice which
excludes from employment applicants or employees because of pregnancy,
childbirth or related medical conditions is in prima facie violation of
title VII.
(b) Disabilities caused or contributed to by pregnancy, childbirth,
or related medical conditions, for all job-related purposes, shall be
treated the same as disabilities
caused or contributed to by other
medical conditions, under any health or disability insurance or sick
leave plan available in connection with employment
. Written or unwritten
employment policies and practices involving matters such as the
commencement and duration of leave, the availability of extensions, the
accrual of seniority and other benefits and privileges, reinstatement,
and payment under any health or disability insurance or sick leave plan,
formal or informal, shall be applied to disability due to pregnancy,
childbirth or related medical conditions on the same terms and conditions as they are applied to other disabilities
(c) Where the termination of an employee who is temporarily disabled
is caused by an employment policy under which insufficient or no leave
is available, such a termination violates the Act if it has a disparate
impact on employees of one sex
and is not justified by business

PDA violations can be very subtle but incredibly damaging to a woman's career. It is common for women to feel as though they should just deal with it (because in general they are too busy balancing all other aspects of their lives). However, some of what these women are tolerating is unlawful and should contact an attorney if they have any questions.

1 comment:

mckora said...

Great Stuff! I missed not reading Blog. Vacation was great. Thanks for the shout out!