hostileRegina Scates, a Bridgeport, Connecticut firefighter, has officially filed a lawsuit alleging the city discriminated against her during her pregnancy.  The firefighter is claiming that the discipline levied against her during her pregnancy was in direct violation of both the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Scates has claimed that she was treated unfairly after having taking sick days that were related to her pregnancy.  The firefighter also claims that the city forced her into unpaid maternity leave while she was still fully able to perform the duties that her job required.  The fact that the fire department offers unlimited paid leave to employees with non-pregnancy related disabilities is also mentioned in the lawsuit.

Based on the facts present it would seem that Regina Scates has a fairly strong case.  It isn’t a guarantee that she’ll walk away with a large settlement though – there are any number of things that could disrupt her claim.  The state of Connecticut requires that employers treat pregnancy like other disabilities and prevents employers from forcing employees to take leave during pregnancy.  If Scates and her lawyers can prove that other employees who suffered non-pregnancy related disabilities were offered fully paid leave while she was offered unpaid leave, or that she was forced to take leave rather than be given altered duties than she stands a very good chance of winning her claim.

Laws that relate to disability, pregnancy and maternity leave can differ from state to state.  One common thread though is that employees are required to treat their employees fairly and equally and that the workplace must be safe and discrimination free.  If you have an issue with how your employer treated you during or after your pregnancy or if you’ve been discriminated against for any reason you should reach out to a legal professional immediately.  An experienced attorney will listen to the details of your side of the story, determine if your employer has violated your rights in any way and suggest the best course of action to resolve your situation.

Discrimination is illegal and prohibited by both California and federal laws. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act makes it unlawful for any employer with over 5 employees to discriminate against an employee based on an unlawful reason, such as race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, or any other protected reason.   Individuals who succeed in bringing discrimination claims are entitled to back-pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Discrimination cases come in two forms: “disparate treatment” and “disparate impact.” A disparate treatment case asserts that the employer has been treating the individual differently, or “disparately,” based on an unlawful reason, such as age, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, pregnancy status, or another reason. A “disparate impact” claim asserts that an otherwise ordinary employment practice actually has a discriminatory impact on certain groups of individuals.

AXIS Legal Counsel is a labor and employment law firm representing clients in a variety of labor and employment issues, including the requirements of California’s labor laws.  AXIS Legal Counsel is experienced in the field of employment and labor law and focused on providing high-quality legal service.  AXIS’s managing attorney, Rabeh M. A. Soofi, is recognized as one of the “Top Women Lawyers in Southern California” by SuperLawyers,  and assists clients with a wide variety of employment matters.

For information on retaining AXIS Legal Counsel for any labor or  employment matter, contact or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation, or visit our Employee’ Rights Practice Area, or Individual Rights Portal.