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Employment Law Blog
James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog.

Does The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protect An Employee’s Decision To Have Or Not To Have An Abortion?

Two different road signs that read have a baby and abortion

Having litigated pregnancy discrimination cases for almost twenty years, our Alachua County, Florida employment discrimination attorneys have learned that employers still refuse to acknowledge that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) covers all aspects of pregnancy, including childbirth, abortion and related medical conditions. For example, the PDA does not simply prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee based on her current pregnancy. Rather, the PDA also protects employees from discrimination based on past pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PDA also prohibits employers from discriminating against women because they might get pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Under the PDA, women who are lactating or breastfeeding are also protected from discrimination.

Courts have also determined that the PDA protects women from being subjected to an adverse employment action, such as demotion or discharge, for having an abortion or not having an abortion. For example, the PDA prohibits employers from promising an employee job benefits or threatening an employee with job detriments based on her decision to have or not to have an abortion. The recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in DeJesus v. Florida Central Credit Union, No. 17-2502 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 11, 2018) illustrates that the PDA prohibits adverse actions against women based on their decision to have or not to have an abortion.

Employee Fired For Preapproved Absence From Work

In that case, Elena DeJesus (DeJesus) claimed that her former employer, Florida Central Credit Union (FCCU), violated the PDA by terminating her employment because she had an abortion. DeJesus began working for FCCU at its St. Petersburg branch. DeJesus requested a transfer to the Clearwater branch for convenience. The day after starting her position as a bank teller at the Clearwater branch, DeJesus learned that she was pregnant. DeJesus notified her supervisor of the pregnancy that same day. That same month, DeJesus scheduled a medical procedure to terminate the pregnancy. Jesus cleared the date with her supervisor and her supervisor approved the time off. DeJesus underwent the procedure in the morning and was unable to return to work for the rest of the day.

Approximately two weeks later, DeJesus’ supervisor and another supervisor performed a two-week performance evaluation of DeJesus. According to DeJesus, the performance evaluation was “outstanding,” and the supervisors found no disciplinary issues. After the performance evaluation was conducted, the branch manager of the Clearwater branch notified DeJesus that she was being terminated because of her absence from work. The branch manager stated that the medical procedure was not an appropriate excuse for her absence even though her supervisor authorized the absence.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protects Abortion, Too

FCCU filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of DeJesus’ pregnancy discrimination claim. The trial court denied FCCU’s motion for dismissal. In doing so, the trial court pointed out that the PDA “protects women from discrimination based on their choice to have an abortion.” In alleging that she was fired directly on the heels of an “outstanding” performance evaluation and fired for a preapproved absence from work to have a medical procedure to terminate her pregnancy, the trial court found that DeJesus’ allegations were sufficient to “draw the inference that FCCU terminated her because of her choice to have an abortion.” Thus, the trial court concluded, DeJesus had alleged a plausible claim of pregnancy discrimination.

Free Consultation With Gainesville Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, we represent employees who have been discriminated against on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. If you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination or have questions about your protected from pregnancy discrimination, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Alachua County, Florida employment discrimination attorneys. Our employee rights law firm takes pregnancy 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.

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