Wrongful Termination Based on Pregnancy in Miami
Florida is a state that follows the at-will employment doctrine. This means that employers and employees are entitled to terminate a work relationship for nearly any reason, as long as it does not violate the law or public policy. However, if your termination does violate the law or public policy, you may be able to recover damages through a wrongful termination lawsuit. One protected characteristic under federal, state, and local laws is pregnancy. If you believe that you may have received a wrongful termination based on pregnancy, you should consult the Miami pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates.Wrongful Termination Based on Pregnancy
Termination based on pregnancy is unlawful. Under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), you are sheltered from this kind of wrongful termination if your employer has at least 15 employees. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To sue for wrongful termination based on pregnancy under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, you will first need to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC administers claims under several anti-discrimination laws. The charge must be filed before you pursue legal action in federal court for the wrongful termination.
The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination arising out of pregnancy as well. You should not be terminated for pregnancy-related conditions, such as a doctor’s order to take bed rest for preeclampsia or a near-miscarriage. Like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the state law only covers employers with at least 15 employees.
Additionally, the Miami-Dade County Human Rights Ordinance prohibits discrimination resulting from a pregnancy. You may be able to bring a wrongful termination case based on pregnancy if, for example, you let your boss know that you are pregnant, and he terminates you, stating that you will not be able to do your job anymore. To sue for wrongful termination under the Human Rights Ordinance, you will first need to file a claim with the Miami-Dade County Commission on Human Rights. This Commission enforces the local Ordinance.Retaliation
There is no Florida law mandating that employers give their employees pregnancy leave. However, under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers are supposed to give the same leave or accommodations to people affected by pregnancy that they would provide to an employee suffering from any other temporary disability. For example, if your employer allows a coworker who broke a leg to stay home for two weeks to recover, you should be afforded the same accommodation if you suffer from preeclampsia and need bed rest. Also, your employer should not retaliate against you for asking for this leave. Sometimes wrongful termination based on pregnancy occurs because a worker engaged in a protected activity under federal, state, or local laws (such as requesting leave or another accommodation). Each of the pertinent laws in Florida includes anti-retaliation provisions. If your employer is covered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it should not terminate you for asking for a leave that a coworker with a broken leg received. Similarly, you should not be terminated in retaliation for complaining of harassment based on your pregnancy.Damages
Your attorney may be able to recover compensatory damages and back pay if they can successfully establish a wrongful termination claim. There are situations in which reinstatement to your former position may be appropriate. However, in many cases, this is not the right resolution because usually communications have broken down between employer and employee to the extent that legal action was necessary. If your employer’s actions were particularly egregious, it may also be appropriate to ask for punitive damages, which are meant to punish and deter employers.Retain a Skillful Miami Attorney for Your Wrongful Termination Claim
Each claim of wrongful termination based on pregnancy is very fact-specific, and you may not be sure, on your own, whether you have a claim. It is important to consult a seasoned wrongful termination attorney who understands the nuances of a discrimination case, and who can confidently take your case through the legal system. If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated in the Miami area, you should call Phillips & Associates at (305) 549-5120 or complete our online form. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis; we will not take attorneys’ fees unless we successfully secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf.