Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is prohibited at the federal level by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and at the state level by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), but it still occurs far too often. It is not only male employers who exhibit a bias towards pregnant employees as a recent case in Essex County, New Jersey demonstrates.
The plaintiff is a lawyer in a family firm in Little Falls, New Jersey who says that when she announced her first pregnancy to her boss back in 2010 the boss replied, “That’s great, what the (expletive) am I going to do now?” In addition to gender discrimination and failure to accommodate a disability, the plaintiff is claiming hostile work environment and retaliation in her lawsuit.
The plaintiff has had three children during her time working at the law firm run by the defendant. For the first two pregnancies she asked not to have to cover court appearances in remote locations during bad winter weather conditions. The suit alleges that although attorneys at the firm frequently covered appearances for one another, her request was angrily rejected by her boss. After the birth of her second child, the defendant made disparaging comments in front of co-workers such as “please, whatever you do, don’t tell me you are pregnant again.”
Denied Part-Time Employment
The problems escalated when the plaintiff became pregnant for the third time in May 2017. She did not immediately inform her employer about the baby, but in September, due to complications with the pregnancy, she asked for accommodations. Two days later she was called in and informed that her part-time position would be eliminated at the end of the year. She was also told that her billable hours were insufficient, something the plaintiff denies. The next day, the office manager, who is also the defendant’s son, accused her of lying about her billings.
The plaintiff received a letter on September 18 saying that if she was willing to work full-time she was welcome to continue her work at the firm. She declined the offer in writing on October 12 and added that she felt she was terminated. Currently she is on maternity leave having given birth to her third child.
Lawyers for the defendant say that the firm has been highly accommodating to all the pregnant attorneys they employ, but that it is also within their right to require employees to work full time. They hold that because the plaintiff is no longer pregnant, there is no accommodation required and thus no discrimination.
Marlton Employment Discrimination Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Provide Knowledgeable Counsel in All Matters of Employment Law
If you have experienced discrimination in your workplace, speak to an experienced Marlton employment discrimination lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. who can advise you of your legal options. We will fight to recover the maximum compensation allowable for your case. Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.