Under both state and federal law, Texas employees are protected from discrimination based on pregnancy and pregnancy-related illnesses; however, that was not always the case.
Originally, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin was not interpreted by the courts to include protection for pregnancy and related medical conditions. During this time, employers were able to make decisions based on the fact an employee was pregnant. It was not until over a decade later, with the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) that pregnancy was covered. Since the passage of the PDA, discrimination based “on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” has been prohibited because it is considered to be discrimination based on a person’s sex.
Under the PDA, women who are pregnant or are suffering from pregnancy-related illnesses cannot be discriminated against. Common pregnancy-related illnesses include:
- Gestational diabetes,
- Severe, persistent nausea and vomiting,
- Iron-deficiency anemia,
- High blood pressure, and
Employers cannot base an employment decision on the fact that an employee suffers from one of these or another pregnancy-related illnesses. It is important to note that pregnant women may also enjoy other protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to assist an employee with a disability in performing her job.
Under the ADA, if a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. Thus, certain medical issues such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes are classified as disabilities under the ADA. As a result, employers have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to these employees. A failure to do so may put an employer in violation of the ADA.
Have You Been Discriminated Against While Pregnant?
If you or someone you know has recently experienced discrimination or retaliation because they were pregnant or suffered from a pregnancy-related illness, contact our Dallas employment discrimination attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. We handle all types of Texas sex discrimination cases, including pregnancy discrimination. Our experienced attorneys are both compassionate and knowledgeable in their representation during an often very difficult time. To learn more, call 214-528-6500 to schedule a consultation.