Can You Be Fired for Being Pregnant in Florida and Georgia?
Both Georgia and Florida are considered “at-will” states where employment laws are concerned. This allows both employers and employees to terminate employment relationships without cause or even a particular reason.
There is, however, a caveat to at-will employment. Employers cannot fire someone for illegal reasons. In many cases, being fired for being pregnant could be a violation of state or federal law pregnancy discrimination laws. Keep reading to learn more about your legal rights.
Discrimination and Pregnancy
While neither Florida nor Georgia require employers to offer paid pregnancy leave, companies are generally not allowed to discriminate against pregnant workers or a woman who plans on becoming pregnant.
Pregnancy is considered a “temporary disability,” and the law protects all recognized disabilities against discriminatory behavior, including:
- Forcing an employee to take leave
- Withholding promotions or bonuses
- Not reinstating an employee to their original or a “like” position
If you have evidence that an employer subject to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act engaged in any of these behaviors, you could have a case. Contact The Leach Firm, P.A. for a complimentary consultation. In addition, the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and associated regulations could also potentially provide grounds for a claim.
About the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
Being fired for any reason can be heartbreaking, demoralizing, and stressful. When you suspect that you were fired merely for being pregnant, it’s normal to feel outraged about such unfair treatment.
Whether you have recourse under the law depends on several factors, including whether your employer is subject to regulations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (or PDA for short). This Act applies to companies with at least 15 employees. This means that extremely small businesses might be able to dismiss a woman simply for being pregnant, but companies that fall within the domain of the Act cannot fire you for being pregnant.
About the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Another federal protection offered to pregnant women is the Family and Medical Leave Act (also referred to as FMLA). This Act applies to companies with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.
Not only does this law prevent discrimination for being pregnant, it requires an employer to offer you up to 12 weeks of unpaid pregnancy disability leave to rest before childbirth, give birth to a child, and recover and bond with the baby. The FMLA also applies to other medical conditions.
To be eligible for this benefit, you must have been employed with the company for at least a year and logged 1,250 hours during that period.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
The effective date of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, June 27, 2023, and the delay in implementing regulations to carry out the law means that we are not yet certain how courts will interpret rights under this law. The law specifies that employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s “known limitations” related to:
- Medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth
So if you are forced to quit your job because your employer failed to provide reasonable accommodations during your pregnancy, you could be entitled to compensation or other forms of relief under the new law.
Cases that involve enforcing your rights as an employee often hinge on nuances of the law and very specific facts. The best way to find out what your rights are in a specific situation and how to enforce those rights is to consult a lawyer who understands the details of employment laws and regulations.
Contact an Experienced Georgia and Florida Employment Law Attorney
Unlike some other types of cases against an employer, a pregnancy discrimination case requires you to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the most recent sex discrimination act by your employer. This complaint must be filed before any other recourse can be taken, including filing a lawsuit.
To discuss your claim and how to best proceed with your case, contact the attorneys at The Leach Firm, P.A. today. We offer free case evaluations with an experienced lawyer you can trust.