Navigating the workplace can be challenging, especially when faced with pregnancy discrimination. In Michigan, laws are in place to protect employees from such unfair treatment. But, how does one recognize and address pregnancy discrimination? Please continue reading and reach out to a dedicated Marquette employment lawyer from Berger Law to learn more.
What Constitutes Pregnancy Discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats a worker unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. It might manifest in various forms, including denial of reasonable accommodation, harassment, or unjustified dismissal. For instance, if an employer refuses to provide lighter duties to a pregnant employee when such accommodations are made for other employees with medical conditions, this could be considered discrimination.
What Protections Are Employees Offered?
Yes, Michigan workers are protected under both federal and state laws. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Additionally, the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) offers broader protections, making it illegal to discriminate against any individual because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status, which includes pregnancy.
Under ELCRA, Section 202 specifically protects against discrimination in employment, stating that employers cannot fail or refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to employment, compensation, or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of any of the aforementioned characteristics. This means Michigan offers a robust framework for combating pregnancy discrimination, ensuring that employees do not have to choose between their job and their health or family.
How Can I File a Claim for Pregnancy Discrimination in Michigan?
Filing a claim requires a careful approach. Initially, documenting any instances of discrimination is crucial. Keep records of emails, messages, and notes of conversations that could serve as evidence.
Next, you should report the discrimination to your HR department, if available, following the company’s internal procedures for such complaints. This step not only officially logs your concerns but also gives your employer a chance to address the issue directly.
Should the situation remain unresolved or worsen, you can file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). The MDCR is responsible for enforcing the ELCRA and can investigate your claim, offering mediation or legal remedies if discrimination is found.
Alternatively, you may also file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency overseeing the enforcement of the PDA. It’s important to note that there are strict time limits for filing these claims, typically within 180 days of the discriminatory act under state law, and up to 300 days for federal claims.
For those considering legal action, consulting with an employment lawyer from Berger Law is paramount. We are here to effectively represent your interests and fight for the justice you deserve.