Both the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (a federal law) and the Missouri Human Rights Act (a state law) prohibit pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Such unlawful conduct includes discrimination based on “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”
An employee’s evidence
An employee establishes a prima facie case of gender and pregnancy discrimination with evidence that:
- she was a member of a protected group;
- she was qualified for her position;
- she suffered an adverse employment action; and
- she was discharged under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.
An employer’s defense
If an employee establishes a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a “non-discriminatory, legitimate justification for its conduct, which rebuts the employee’s prima facie case.” If an employer meets this burden, an employee must then produce evidence showing that the employer’s explanation is merely a pretext for unlawful discrimination. Pretext means that an employer’s stated reasons are not credible or unworthy of belief.
The issue is whether the employee has sufficient evidence that unlawful discrimination was a motivating factor in the defendant’s adverse personnel action.
We have extensive experience with pregnancy discrimination laws and their application to today’s workplace. Contact us to discuss your situation involving the Pregnancy Discrimination Act or the Missouri Human Rights Act.