Legal Recourse for Indiana Women Fired During Pregnancy
I Was Fired While Pregnant, What Are My Rights?
It may sound as awful as it feels when you read it. Fired-While-Pregnant or Fired-While-On-Maternity-Leave. The truth is that being let go from your job can be terrible at just about any time but when a family is expecting a baby or the woman is in the postpartum stage, the situation can quickly escalate into a stress filled, terrible situation for all involved. Many women wonder if they have any legal rights since their job was terminated while they were pregnant or on maternity leave? The short answer is that there is no state or federal law in place that protects expectant or new mothers from sudden unemployment as long as her employer can give a valid reason for terminating. These reasons often are safe for an employer and may include:
- The company is creating smaller budgets;
- The women’s work performance reviews were poor and had unresolvable issues;
- The company has reorganized and is no longer in need of the employee;
- Or, the company went through a buyout and downsized staffing.
So yes, it is legal to fire, or lay off, a pregnant woman or a woman out on maternity leave as long as the employer can make the case that she is being let go for a reason unrelated to her pregnancy.
Understanding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act
But if the employer cannot make the case that the woman was let go (or fired) for reasons unrelated to her pregnancy or maternity leave, this is the time it is best to speak with the attorneys at Wagner Reese for a review of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects a pregnant employee from being fired just because she is expecting, or a pregnant job seeker from not gaining employment simply because she is expecting.
An experienced attorney can help figure out if any violations were made of employee rights under the state and federal employment laws before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, and the in the Indiana state and federal courts.
Pregnant or new mothers who are the victim of unlawful employment discrimination, may be entitled for compensation of damages. These could include:
- Back Pay – wages or salary & benefits lost due to termination
- Front Pay – future loss of wages
- Compensatory Damages – pain and suffering, mental anguish & distress
- Liquidated Damages – equal to the amount of back pay
- Punitive Damages – to punish the employer & deter future violations
Strict deadlines may apply to a wrongful termination case and women may be required to report illegal discrimination or harassment to their employer to be entitled to recovery of compensation. In Indiana, it is against the law for an employer to fire for exercising rights. Employers cannot fire or take action against an expecting woman or new mother for complaining against unlawful discrimination or harassment of themselves or others.
We Are Here With You
Your employer may try to convince you to resign rather than be fired or to sign a release and waiver of all claims against the employer. Before taking action that could result in your loss of ability to recover compensation for violations of your rights, contact us for a FREE consultation and will assist you in filing a Complaint with the EEOC and represent you in Indiana state and federal courts.
Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today at (888) 204-8440. The call is free and we do not get paid any fees or costs unless we recover for you.