Are Women Protected From Being Fired Because Of A Pregnancy-Related Medical Condition?
For more than twenty years, our employment lawyers in Citrus County have fought for the rights of pregnancy discrimination victims. Having decades of experience representing pregnancy discrimination victims, our Citrus County, Florida employment attorneys know that women are often fired when they miss work because of pregnancy-related medical conditions. In far too many cases, pregnant employees who miss work because of a pregnancy-related medical condition are fired while non-pregnant employees who miss work for medical reasons are not subjected to disciplinary action, let alone termination. In treating pregnant employees differently from non-pregnant employees, employers use pregnant employees’ absence from work because of a pregnancy-related medical condition as a pretextual justification for terminating their employment because they are pregnant. In this article, our employment lawyers in Citrus County explain how the decision in Biondolillo v. Livingston Correctional Facility, 2023 WL 2043827 (W.D. N.Y. Feb. 16, 2023) illustrates that the protection against pregnancy discrimination under federal employment discrimination law extends to pregnancy-related medical conditions.
Pregnant Employees’ Rights
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers from discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Because the PDA covers not only pregnancy but also pregnancy-related medical conditions, employers are prohibited from discriminating against women because of a pregnancy-related medical condition. Pregnancy-related medical conditions include morning sickness, near-miscarriage, doctor-ordered bed rest, and recovery from childbirth.
The PDA’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of pregnancy-related medical conditions means that employers must treat women with a pregnancy-related medical condition the same as workers with a medical condition who are similar in their ability or inability to work. Thus, if an employer allows non-pregnant employees to miss work due to a medical condition, the employer must allow pregnant employees to miss work due to a pregnancy-related medical condition. If the employer terminates a pregnant employee for missing work due to a pregnancy-related medical condition but does not terminate non-pregnant employees who are absent from work due to a medical condition, the employer has unlawfully discriminated against the pregnant employee on the basis of a pregnancy-related medical condition in violation of the PDA.
Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit
In Biondolillo, a woman named Biondolillo brought a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, Livingston Correctional Facility (LCF), pursuant to the PDA. Biondolillo claims that she was fired because of a pregnancy-related medical condition in violation of the PDA.
Biondolillo worked as a registered nurse at LCF. She was 42 years when her employment with LCF ended. At some point during December 2016, Biondolillo learned that she had become pregnant. Biondolillo claims that she informed her supervisor, a woman named Kennedy, of her pregnancy sometime that month before her employment ended on December 30, 2016, but Kennedy claims she did not.
On December 30, 2016, Biondolillo woke with abdominal pain and bleeding. Biondolillo called her doctor and was advised to visit the emergency room. Biondolillo notified the nurses’ station at LCF that she may be unable to report to her shift for that reason. A co-worker told Biondolillo that she would notify Kennedy that Biondolillo would be visiting the emergency room due to problems with her pregnancy. Shortly thereafter, Kennedy called Biondolillo.
Biondolillo alleges that when Kennedy called her, she asked, “What is your problem now?” Biondolillo alleges that she informed Kennedy that she was experiencing bleeding as a result of her pregnancy, that she would need to visit the emergency room, and that she would attempt to come in late for part of her shift. Biondolillo further alleges that Kennedy said, “I’m sorry that you’re spotting [bleeding] but if you don’t come to work you don’t have a job, you know what, this is ridiculous at your age, forget it, you don’t have a job,” then hung up. Kennedy denies making such statements. Biondolillo claims that she interpreted Kennedy’s alleged statements as a termination. Biondolillo did not report to work.
Evidence Of Pregnancy Discrimination
LCF filed a motion with the trial court seeking the dismissal of Biondolillo’s pregnancy discrimination claim. In support of its motion for dismissal, LCF argued that Biondolillo was terminated because she was “unreliable.” LCF argued that Kennedy’s alleged comments to Biondolillo were, at most, an expression of frustration and Biondolillo was fired because she was “absent from work seven times in the sixth months she worked at LCF.” The trial court denied LCF’s motion for dismissal and ruled that Biondolillo has presented sufficient evidence of pregnancy discrimination to proceed to a jury trial. In denying LCF’s motion for dismissal, the trial court focused on Kennedy’s alleged statements to Biondolillo. The trial court found that the “demeaning and specific nature of Kennedy’s alleged remarks with respect to [Biondolillo’s] claimed complications with her pregnancy,” were sufficient to rebut LCF’s rationale for terminating Biondolillo’s and “suggest” that Biondolillo’s termination “was motivated by discriminatory animus.”
Free Consultation For Discrimination Victims
One of the most important decisions pregnancy discrimination victims must make is which employment law attorneys to consult with regarding their rights under federal employment discrimination law. As part of our commitment to fighting for the rights of employment discrimination victims, an experienced employment law attorney will speak with you personally and you will receive the individualized attention your case deserves. We offer free confidential case evaluations for employees, and you will not have to pay to speak with our employment discrimination attorneys regarding your rights. We are available for consultation at your convenience, including scheduling telephone consultations for evenings and weekends.
Citrus County, FL Employment Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our employment attorneys in Citrus County, Florida have dedicated their practice to fighting for the rights of employment discrimination victims. If you have been discriminated against because of pregnancy or have questions about your rights as a pregnant employee, please contact our office for a free consultation with our employment lawyers in Citrus County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.