The discrimination or unfair treatment of employees is an unfortunate and real part of some workplace settings. For police officer Carissa Lewis, working while pregnant afforded her the unfair treatment from her superiors at the Morningside Police Department. Despite a doctor’s order indicating a need for Lewis to perform light duty work, the officer was repeatedly asked to perform normal duty activities. Her requests for an appropriate location for pumping breast milk went unanswered. In addition to failing to acknowledge the requests for accommodating a healthy pregnancy, the chief of police was accused of showing the pregnant officer inappropriate material involving women that he obtained from the Internet.
Despite the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, some women who are pregnant or intend to become pregnant face discriminatory treatment at work or when seeking employment. This may be in the form of demotions, lowered pay, termination or the refusal to hire. Pregnant women may also experience inappropriate work assignments, harassment or other degradation for being pregnant.
Workplace discrimination can be difficult to identify for some. Ultimately, discrimination occurs when a qualified employee is intentionally or unintentionally treated unfairly due to individual traits such as race, gender, age or sexual orientation. Discrimination not only puts a certain employee or group of employees at a disadvantage compared to other workers, the more favored employees may be privy to opportunities for promotions and raises that are withheld from the discriminated employees. This forms an uneven and illegal playing field that may warrant the attention of an attorney experienced in employment law.
If an employee has experienced unfair treatment at work, a lawyer can offer guidance on a course of action. In the event of discrimination, the lawyer can play a role in seeking compensation for the treatment the employee suffered.
Source: WUSA , “Morningside police officer files $1M discrimination lawsuit,” Nikki Burdine, Feb. 6, 2015