Detroit Employment Lawyer Sees Influx in Pregnancy Discrimination Cases Since Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Became Law
Dec 11, 2023
Detroit, Michigan – After the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was signed into law, Detroit-based law firm Sommers Schwartz, PC reports a surge in pregnancy discrimination cases, underscoring the importance of the newly implemented federal law in safeguarding the rights of pregnant workers.
Pregnant women have often been the victims of discriminatory practices in workplaces. Arguments in favor of the law included multiple reports like one example where an employee, following her doctor’s advice not to lift heavy objects during her pregnancy, found herself on a 12-week leave without pay. The employer terminated her two months after childbirth, showing a clear disregard for her rights.
In response to such practices, the PWFA was included in President Biden’s omnibus spending bill in December 2022 and came into force on June 27, 2023. The law stipulates that public and private sector employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees, allowing them to fulfill their job responsibilities.
Drawing parallels with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the PWFA prohibits employers from forcing a pregnant employee to accept an accommodation without mutual agreement, denying job opportunities based on the need for reasonable accommodation, and compelling a pregnant employee to take leave when alternative reasonable accommodations are available. The Act also protects employees from retaliation for reporting or participating in an investigation related to PWFA violations.
Violation of the PWFA could result in employers being liable for damages under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. This includes job reinstatement, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and the right to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
However, the act’s jurisdiction extends only to job and workplace accommodations. Other federal and local laws, such as the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, continue to protect employees from discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.
“Immediately after this law went into effect, we saw a considerable increase in new cases where women were subjected to the unfair discriminatory practices that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was put in place to prevent. My office has been able to obtain compensation for our clients who suffered pregnancy discrimination by their employers,” said attorney Tad T. Roumayah of Sommers Schwartz, PC.
As champions of worker’s rights, Sommers Schwartz’s employee rights group has a long-standing record of successfully fighting for victims of discrimination, harassment, termination, and retaliation, including pregnant workers. Anyone who believes their rights were violated during their pregnancy, can contact Sommers Schwartz and receive a free, confidential, and empathetic consultation to review their rights.
Sommers Schwartz is a powerhouse litigation firm made up of experienced personal injury lawyers, medical malpractice attorneys, commercial and business law attorneys, and employee rights lawyers fighting for unpaid wages and overtime. The law firm serves clients across the country from its offices in Michigan and California.
Sommers Schwartz, P.C.
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Southfield, MI 48076
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