Sexist language and subtle discrimination

woman isolated at office, employee rights, sexist languageMost people can recognize sexist language as it’s often quite obvious, such as a man referring to a female employee’s looks, saying suggestive things about her, or calling her pet names like “honey” or baby.” But more often than not, it’s the subtle ways people use sexist language that can reveal gender bias or discrimination tendencies.

And while we are specifically referring to women in this post, know that sexist language can apply to both men and transgendered individuals as well.

Sexist language in the White House

Many people would agree that Donald Trump is pretty misogynistic because he has said some very derogatory things about women, especially when it comes to their looks. But it’s the more subtle wording he uses that implies an even deeper bias. He’s never been one to shy away from verbally attacking anyone he perceives as a threat — whether a man or woman — but the ways he chooses to insult people can be revealing.

For instance, while he is famous for using the phrase “nasty woman,” there are many instances where he has also called men nasty. However, he tends to reserve use of the word “mean” almost exclusively when discussing women. The term often implies how one person treats another person, or that they are ” offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating.” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/mean?s=t). That definition suggests that the women Trump calls mean make him feel offended or like he isn’t worthy — a feeling that could denote unmanliness if Trump were to use it to describe a man.

Here are two examples of Trump referring to Elizabeth Warren as mean:

“…You got so horrible to people and they said you know she’s, not dumb, but she’s just so damn mean, we can’t vote for her. She’s a mean one. She is mean.” (https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-speech-kag-rally-north-charleston-south-carolina-february-28-2020)

 

 

“… But people don’t like her. She’s a very mean person, and people don’t like her. People don’t want that. They like a person like me, that’s not mean….”
(https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-remarks-coronavirus-emergency-funding-march-6-2020)

By comparison, when Trump refers to a man as mean, it’s in a complimentary way:

“… We have a man who’s smart as hell, and he is tough, and he is mean and nasty, but he loves this state, and he’s only mean and nasty because he wants to defend you and me, and all of the horrible things that we all go through…”
(https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-speech-kag-rally-dallas-texas-october-17-2019)

 

Sexist language in the workplace

While the obvious sexist language and behaviors are frowned upon and generally avoided in the workplace, it’s the more subtle sexism that seems to be taking over. The problem is that many people still place men and women in certain gender roles and have specific expectations for them. “Communal language is mainly applied to women, and it invokes stereotypical female traits like being supportive, showing warmth, and helping the team. Agentic [authoritative] language is mainly applied to men and is more about getting the job done, taking charge, and being independent.” (https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20170329-the-hidden-sexism-in-workplace-language) So, while a man who is good at his job might be referred to as confident or a leader, a woman acting the same might be called bossy or abrasive — the implication being that it’s okay for men to act in an authoritative way but not women.

” A 2014 study for Fortune.com by Kieran Snyder examined 248 reviews from 180 people, (105 men and 75 women). The reviews came from 28 different companies, all in the tech sector, and included a range of organisational sizes. One word appeared 17 times in reviews of women, and never in any of the reviews of men: ‘abrasive’. Other words were disproportionately applied to women, including bossy, aggressive, strident, emotional and irrational. Aggressive did appear in two reviews of men, in the context of them being urged to be more aggressive. Reviews of women only ever used aggressive as a criticism. The gender of the person writing the review didn’t affect the results of the study.” (http://sacraparental.com/2016/05/14/everyday-misogyny-122-subtly-sexist-words-women/)

 

Sexist language hidden in compliments

Another subtle way that sexist language can appear is in compliments, but ones that are reserved specifically for one gender. For example, the words “modest,” “vivacious,” and “ladylike” are words that are almost exclusively used to describe women. If she’s modest and ladylike, then she doesn’t exert her sexuality. If she’s vivacious or bubbly, then she’s pleasant to be around and isn’t too abrasive. And while they may sound nice, they all imply that the woman isn’t a threat to the men around her and that she’s valued for how she treats people and acts, as opposed to how good of an employee she is. And while some people may see these subtle compliments as harmless, they can affect not only how women think about themselves in the workplace but how they are perceived by their superiors, which may limit their advancement potential.

 

Determining discrimination and sexism in the workplace

Here are some questions to consider whether you are being discriminated against:

  • Are there consistent incidents of sexist language being used against you and other women?
  • Is there a pattern of bias or discrimination against women consistently being passed over for promotions or job transfers?
  • Are complaints of sexism being ignored?
  • Have you or others recently reported wrongdoing, but are now being retaliated against? (Fewer work hours, demotion, pay cut, etc.)
  • Have you consistently done a good job, but are now receiving disciplinary notices?

These are just some of the ways you may be able to determine if there is discrimination and not a complete list of questions to ask.

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Your Denver Discrimination attorney

If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace and believe that sexist language may have played a part, our civil rights attorneys can help you. If you or a loved one has suffered sexist discrimination violation in your place of employment, call the Civil Rights Litigation Group at 720-515-6165 or use our online contact form. Schedule your free consultation with a Denver discrimination attorney today.

 

Call us at 720-515-6165

Face masks probably don’t violate civil rights

woman in face mask at work, civil rightsAmidst all the civil rights protests lately, one divisive topic has emerged: Is it a violation of my civil rights for the government to require me to wear a face mask in public? In short, probably not. Because of the rapid increase in Covid-19 infections, many states have issued temporary laws, requiring all citizens (over the age of 11, in Colorado) to wear face masks. In Colorado, it applies while “entering or moving within any public indoor space [or] while using or waiting to use public (buses, light-rail) or non-personal (taxis, car services, ride-shares) transportation services.” You aren’t required to wear them in private residences or when outdoors, unless you are waiting for public transportation. Given the public-available data on the Covid pandemic, face-mask orders probably bear a reasonable relationship to the emergency and are probably legal, based on pre-existing case law.

 

Does the government have the legal authority to mandate face masks?

Probably. Since we are in the middle of a public health emergency, state and local officials have the authority to issue and enforce reasonable rules of safety. According to Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, “This has been upheld repeatedly. No one has the right to expose the community to communicable disease.” Likewise, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has emergency powers that grant him the right to issue the face mask mandate, and that authority is upheld by the Colorado state constitution (Article IV, Section 2). A law passed by the legislature: Colorado Disaster Emergency Act, CRS 24-33.5-701 also supports this.

A state government’s power to issue orders that are reasonably related to the protection of other citizens during public health emergencies has also been upheld by the Supreme Court. This has been the case since 1905, when the Supreme Court ruled on Jacobson v. Massachusetts. The case involved a smallpox outbreak and local authorities mandated that everyone had to be vaccinated against it or risk a fine (unless medically unable to do so safely). The court upheld this authority, saying, “Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”

“The public health expert consensus is that wearing a mask in public is a key countermeasure in combating the coronavirus pandemic because it helps slow the infection rate. Even cloth face masks can help curb community spread of coronavirus, in part by reducing transmission by people who are infected but experience no symptoms. The coronavirus pandemic is the kind of extraordinary circumstance when the public good outweighs individual inconvenience.” (Law.com)

To date, over 140,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, so it is likely within each state government’s authority to mandate necessary requirements issued for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of those who have not yet been infected, so long as those requirements relate directly to the cause at hand. Since Covid-19 has been shown to be spread by people breathing out tiny droplets that may contain the virus, face masks are likely to be considered a reasonable precaution. Face mask requirements are even more likely to be considered reasonable considering that many people who have the virus are asymptomatic and may unknowingly spread it to others.

 

Can I be required to wear face mask if I have a medical condition?

For those people “who cannot medically tolerate a face covering,” the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requires that businesses, government entities, etc. make reasonable accommodations. Those may include offering delivery or curb-side pickup of things like groceries and goods, or offering online options for accessing services such as renewing a license. However, they aren’t required to allow you in their space without a mask, as that could endanger others.

The definition for those medically exempt from the order is pretty narrow: “a person who has trouble breathing or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance.” It doesn’t include people who believe the mask will cause them to breathe in carbon dioxide or lower their oxygen levels.

The ADA has also issued a warning against using fake mask exemption cards that have flooded the internet. “The ADA does not provide a blanket exemption to people with disabilities from complying with legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operations.” (ADA website)

 

gloves and disposable face mask, civil rights

Can a business refuse me entry if I won’t wear a mask?

Not only can a business refuse you entry, but they are required to as they are responsible for upholding the state and local laws for face masks and other safety measures. Again, they have to make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities, so if you suffer from a disability, you should be prepared to make a specific request for accommodation that will not create an undue burden on the business. But as long as the business is enforcing the mask requirement equally to everyone, they are probably not violating your rights. Businesses are also required to post signage stating that masks are required. If you attempt to enter a business without a mask, you may be prosecuted for trespassing. Likewise, businesses that do not enforce the ordinance may lose their license.

 

Can my employer require me to wear face masks?

Because of the mandate, employers must require all employees to wear masks. They have to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities and should offer protection to those at a greater risk of severe illness due to Covid-19. Some employers may require employees to wear additional protective gear, such as gloves, and some are required to per Public Health Order 20-31.

If you are in a job that requires specific high-end protective gear like N95 masks, employers in Colorado are required to provide them. For all other businesses, government entities, etc. the Safer at Home public health order from March states that employers shall “provide appropriate protective gear like gloves, masks, and face coverings.” The newest public health order states that employers “should” provide protective equipment, but doesn’t specifically mandate it.

Regardless, employers are still required to provide workplaces “free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm” under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause. This is interpreted differently for each business and can include things like putting up clear barriers to protect employees who come in close contact with the public.

Other resources on our blog:

 

Additional resources:

Face-Covering Requirements and the Constitution

Colorado Mask Order: When Do I Need To Wear A Face Covering? (And More Mask Questions Answered)

Questions & answers about the statewide mandatory mask order

Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings

 

Paid time off and your rights during the coronavirus

woman sneezing at desk, rights to paid time off during coronavirusWith all of the new laws and requirements coming about because of the coronavirus, many people have questions regarding paid time off and their rights to it. What happens if you get sick and your employer won’t give you time off to either recover or quarantine? What happens if a family member gets sick and you need to care for them?

State laws regarding paid time off

As of March, the Colorado Division of Labor enacted the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules (Colorado HELP) to give employees some help, especially with paid time off. Because of these new regulations, companies are now required to provide up to four days of paid medical leave for their employees. This time can be used to self-isolate if you are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19. The new regulations cover employees in the following industries: leisure and hospitality, retail stores that sell groceries, food and beverage manufacturing, food services, childcare, education (including transportation, food service, and related work), home health care, nursing homes, and community living facilities.

New federal laws

Two new acts passed by Congress — the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act —also give you rights with regards to paid time off. These new laws require all states, cities, and towns, along with private companies with less than 500 employees, to provide up to 80 hours of paid leave to employees if they are told to self-quarantine or if they have symptoms and are waiting for test results. If this is the case, you should receive your regular rate of pay for those 80 hours. You can also use the time to care for a child if their school or daycare has been closed due to Covid-19 or to care for a family member who is either sick or needs to self-isolate. In this case, the law requires your employer to pay you two-thirds of your regular pay during your time off. The law also prevents your employer from requiring you to use all of your other paid time off, like vacation or personal time, if you get sick or need to care for someone who is.

Paid time off if you need to care for a family member

Sometimes, it’s not you that’s sick but an immediate family member like a spouse or child. If you have worked a year or more, full-time,for a company with more than 50 employees, you can take advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. This act requires that companies give you up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for a family member and then let you return to your job in the same or an equivalent position. They also have to let you keep your health insurance.

Can I be fired for getting sick?

The FMLA and other federal laws protect employees from being fired for a serious health condition. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also prohibits companies from discriminating against employees with a disability. In some cases, you could be considered disabled if you have an underlying health condition, such as asthma or diabetes, that could be exacerbated by the Covid-19.

We are here to help with paid time off and other employment issues

If you have experienced problems with your employer not giving you the required paid time off during this epidemic or any other health crisis, please give us a call. We work diligently to protect employee rights. The Civil Rights Litigation Group is dedicated to protecting the rights of employees during the coronavirus outbreak. If you are having issues securing paid time off, we can pursue a lawsuit against your employers, and will fight to get you compensation for your damages. For a free, no-obligation consultation with the Civil Rights Litigation Group, call our Denver CO law firm today at (720) 515-6165 or use our online contact form.

Coronavirus and your employee rights

female employee wearing mask during coronavirus outbreakThe coronavirus pandemic our country is going through right now is unprecedented – people are sick, people are dying, and everyone is scared. Different states are battling the coronavirus in different ways as businesses struggle to survive. Here in Denver, as of March 24, the mayor has declared a state of local disaster, pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-33.5-701, et seq., and ordered all individuals to STAY AT HOME and shelter in place. This means that all non-essential businesses should close, unless they can operate with employees from home and/or with appropriate “social distancing.” In particular:

“All businesses with a facility in Denver, except Essential Businesses as defined below in Section 6, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within Denver, except Minimum Basic Operations, as defined in Section 6. For clarity, businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (e.g., working from home). All Essential Businesses are asked to remain open. To the greatest extent feasible, Essential Businesses shall comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in Section 6, below, including by maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and members of the public, including, but not limited to, when any customers are standing in line.”

March 22 CDPHE Order.[1]

If your business is one of those that will or can remain open, you may have some questions about your rights. First of all, you should understand that circumstances regarding the pandemic are changing as information becomes available and that this is new to everyone. Congress is expected to pass a bill to help both businesses and their employees, but new laws are likely to come in to effect.

Hopefully, you have a caring employer who is taking all the necessary precautions to keep their employees safe and to help you endure through this trying time. However, you may still have some questions and concerns about your rights and safety during this time.

 

Can my employer require me go to work during the coronavirus outbreak?

Unless you have a valid disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your employer can require you to come in to work. If you have health concerns, the best thing you can do is provide notice by talking to them and communicating regarding your concerns and your particular condition. However, if your business is one that was mandated to close and your employer remains open, and then fires you because you refuse to go to work, you may have a case for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Before doing anything, you should speak to your employer and communicate that you have good cause not to work because of a medical vulnerability you have and that you fear for your safety. If you make a good faith effort to resolve the situation and your employer still fires you, you can apply for unemployment and look into a wrongful termination lawsuit.

 

Can my employer require me to work if I need to care for a sick family member?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)[2] requires employers to provide eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave per year to care for yourself or family members, with continued health benefits. Employers must also allow employees to return to the same job (or one that is equivalent). See the Department of Labor website for all the eligibility requirements and details.

 

Is my employer required to provide safety equipment against the coronavirus?

There are OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws that protect you. The general duty clause from OSHA requires your employer to provide “a place of employment which (is) free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Of course, your employer can’t eliminate the coronavirus from your workplace but it should make that environment as safe as reasonably possible. A lot of this will come down to them putting forth a “good faith effort” because safety equipment is in short supply at the moment. So, while a hospital is typically required to provide doctors and nurses with the masks, gowns, and even hazmat suits, a grocery store can get away with providing gloves and hand sanitizer if that is all they are able to get. However, in most cases, they shouldn’t prevent you from using additional safety equipment that you provide so long as it doesn’t interfere with your job.

 

Can I sue my employer if they require me to work and I get sick?

In most cases, probably not. Simply put, it is very difficult to prove how or where someone caught the coronavirus because, as of now, the virus hasn’t mutated very much. What that means is that most people who are sick in your area will have a very similar strain of the virus, so it’s next to impossible to trace. Remember, the burden of proof is on you to show that you not only caught the virus at work but that it was your employer’s fault.

However, if your employer knowingly puts you in a dangerous situation without required protection, or deliberately didn’t inform employees that they had been exposed, then you may have some recourse. Again, this entire situation is something the country and the courts haven’t dealt with much so there is a lot grey area to navigate. And the burden of proof will be still be on you.

 

I am Asian, Latino, African American, Caucasian, or a member of another race and my employer is treating me differently

Disparate treatment because of your race continues to be prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is absolutely illegal. If you can prove that your employer has singled you out and treated you differently from the other employees —  such as cutting your hours or making you wear a mask when no one else is required to — because of your race you may have a case for discrimination.

 

If I test positive for the coronavirus, can my employer tell the other employees?

No, your employer is required to maintain your privacy regarding any medical information. However, they can (and should) notify other employees that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus, or that there may otherwise be a health hazard, without disclosing your name.[3]

 

[1] See https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/mayors-office/newsroom/2020/city-s-covid-19-response-update-and-stay-at-home-order.html

[2] The FMLA applies to all public agencies, including local, State, and Federal employers, and local education agencies (schools); and private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year – including joint employers and successors of covered employers. If you are working for business with fewer than 50 employees, they are not required to offer FMLA benefits.

[3] For further legal advice on this issue, consult an attorney knowledgeable in federal and/or state privacy matters. Civil rights attorneys, such as the author of this article, are not experts in privacy law.

Dealing with disability discrimination in the workplace

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits disability discrimination against an individual based on their disability. The idea was to ensure that Americans with disabilities would have the same rights as everyone else. This includes all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, and job duties, and applies to businesses with 15 or more employees.

Disability Discrimination In Denver, CO?

The Colorado Civil Rights Act further refines the rights of the disabled, prohibiting discrimination, and applies to businesses with two or more employees.

Reasonable accommodation

If you find yourself disabled while working, you can notify your employer of your disability, and request a reasonable accommodation. The company is required under the ADA to provide reasonable accommodation, as long as it does not impose an undue hardship on the employer. Otherwise, they are guilty of disability discrimination.

This reasonable accommodation would be provided to an otherwise qualified disabled employee, and would enable him or her to enjoy the same benefits and have the same level of performance as a non-disabled employee. The accommodations may not be exactly what the employee requested, but may be enough for the employee to continue working at a similar level than before.

These accommodations can include:

  • Changing the employee’s work schedule
  • Restructuring of the employee’s job
  • Increasing accessibility to disabled employees
  • Reassigning the employee to a currently vacant position
  • Providing qualified readers and/or interpreters
  • Modifying or obtaining equipment or devices
  • Modifying or obtaining policies, training manuals, or exams

Once the employee requests an accommodation, the employer’s duty to provide one is initiated. Both the worker and the employer should have a conversation on exactly what the employee needs to continue working.

When the employer refuses to address disability discrimination

Because the ADA requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability, refusing to accommodate a disabled employee may be able to create a claim for disability discrimination under the ADA. The accommodation is requested so that the disabled individual will be able to continue his or her employment as if they were not disabled, or as closely as they can.

The first step is to try to resolve the issue internally, within the company. Having a discussion with your supervisor or manager may be all it takes to resolve the issue. If your direct supervisor refuses, or is unaware of the requirement, a conversation with HR may be your next step. If that doesn’t help, you may have to file an internal complaint within the company. This will give the company a chance to remedy the problem. If they don’t, and you do end up filing suit, it will go a long way in demonstrating to the court that you gave the company adequate opportunity to correct the problem and provide an accommodation.

Should a company complaint not resolve the problem, the first step is to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC in order to preserve your right to file a lawsuit later. Once the EEOC has completed its investigation, it will issue a right-to-sue letter. You will then be cleared to file your lawsuit.

The EEOC has a web page with some facts about the ADA.

Your Denver disability discrimination attorney

Dealing with a disability is difficult enough. Working for an employer who doesn’t respect you as a valued member of the company because of your disability can make things even worse. You don’t have to be a victim against ridiculous discrimination tactics.

Call the Civil Rights Litigation Group at (720) 515-6165, or use our online contact form, to schedule your free consultation with us today. We’ll aggressively fight for you in court and make sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.

Is there such a thing as pregnancy discrimination in the workplace?

Pregnancy and childbirth are a wonderful time in a woman’s life. From the first moment she discovers she’s pregnant until she takes home a newborn, she has much to do. One of the things she shouldn’t have to be concerned about is her job and pregnancy discrimination.

Young pregnant woman at a Denver office working.

Many companies have specific policies and procedures in place to accommodate a woman during and after her pregnancy, including accommodations. Most companies implement temporary work re-assignments to accommodate a shorter work schedule. Some companies may hire a temporary worker or two while the worker is out on maternity leave. But not all companies are as progressive and forward-thinking.

There are laws in place to protect pregnant women from being singled out. But gender discrimination or pregnancy discrimination is still a widespread problem nationwide, particularly among low-income women. Many employers will find a way to terminate a woman’s employment due to her pregnancy, despite the fact that it’s highly illegal.

Employment termination is frequently disguised as a layoff, couched in less-than-favorable performance reviews, or a policy violation that wasn’t there before, such as tardiness without a doctor’s note or an increase in a weight-lift requirement. This directly impacts the woman’s family, since the income is cut off when they need it the most. Since pregnancy is exclusive to females, it can also be considered “gender discrimination.” 

Laws against pregnancy discrimination

Both state and federal law prohibit pregnancy discrimination:

  • Pregnancy Accommodations In Colorado, in which an employer is required to offer “reasonable accommodations” to a pregnant employee, unless it would cause an undue hardship to the company. It also prevents an employer from taking “adverse actions” against an employee for requesting an accommodation. Requesting a doctor’s note for the requested accommodation is acceptable.
    • An employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for a pregnant employee as they would for an employee experiencing a different disabling health conditions (i.e., broken bones, stroke, recuperation after reparative surgery, etc.)
  • The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination for pregnancy as well as other common reason, such as race, creed, nationality, orientation, age, and other factors. This act requires all employers, regardless of size, comply with the state laws against discrimination.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 specifically prohibits sex discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy/childbirth. Women are to be treated the same as any other employee with a medical condition with respect to benefits, including healthcare, affected in the same way with a condition that temporarily prevents them from working or limits their ability to work.
  • The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law that prohibits discrimination against disabled workers by companies with more than 15 workers. Conditions related to pregnancy like gestational diabetes and preclampsia are considered disabilities under the law. You can’t be fired, harassed, or denied a promotion because of your pregnancy, nor denied assistance such as extra breaks or being excused from a lifting requirement. FMLA provides 12 weeks of unpaid guaranteed leave for pregnancy and childbirth.

What Is A “Reasonable Accommodation?”

Like many conditions, pregnancy includes its own symptoms, such as the well-known “morning sickness.” A pregnant woman in the workplace may need some accommodation during pregnancy, including:

  • Job restructuring
  • A temporary modified schedule
  • Increased breaks for restroom, food and water
  • Foot rests
  • Equipment modifications, such as a chair with increased support
  • “Light” duty, including the reduction of weight lift requirements during pregnancy
  • Assistance with manual labor, or a temporary transfer to a less hazardous job

An employer is required to engage in an interactive discussion with the employee to accommodate their needs for assistance. The employer is required to supply reasonable accommodation as long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship for the company. For instance, a request for a new chair would be considered “reasonable,” but a request for an entirely new office to be built would not be.

An employee is not required to accept an accommodation she didn’t request, nor can she be compelled to take leave if the employer can provide a reasonable accommodation.

What you can do about pregnancy discrimination

Both state and federal law prohibit an employer from using your pregnancy as a factor in decision making for:

  • The hiring and interview process
  • Wages, benefits and other pay-related decisions
  • Promotions, transfers, demotions or other disciplinary actions
  • Retaliation for taking leaves of absence
  • Disciplinary action, such as suspensions and termination
  • Layoffs and other forms of termination

If you’re a victim of pregnancy discrimination, you do have options. The EEOC offers a list of facts about pregnancy discrimination, and you can file a complaint with the EEOC as well.

It’s important to begin keeping documentation of any attempts at discrimination in the workplace that you notice. For instance, if another individual is being accommodated for a different type of injury, but you aren’t. If something has “changed” at work after notifying your supervisor of your pregnancy, or you’ve heard an increase in inappropriate remarks about your pregnancy, keep a written record. If you are being singled out, this written record will go a long way in proving your case.

If you’ve been terminated, fired, laid off, or had other adverse actions taken against you once you’ve revealed your pregnancy, it’s time to speak with a civil rights attorney who can defend you and protect your rights.

Workplace discrimination is against the law

The US has very strict laws against discrimination, particularly for a pregnant woman. Colorado also offers protections if you believe you’ve been targeted because of your pregnancy. Call The Civil Rights Litigation Group today at (720) 515-6165 for a free consultation. We’re experienced in helping people like you fight back. We can help you file your EEOC complaint, and represent you in court when the time comes.

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