Legal Issues Analysis

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LEGAL ISSUES ANALYSIS

Legal Issues Analysis

Crystal Whitelaw

University of Phoenix

Legal Issues Analysis

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it illegal for an employer to fire or refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant. Yet, the Equal Employment Opportunity commission received 2,823 maternity-related complaints in a year ended October 1990 (Hughes, 1991). But are these women being fired because they are pregnant or because of performance issues. Proving the firing was because of the pregnancy is often difficult for the mothers to do. But, the timing of the termination plays a great deal in the decision. In a new article in the Wall Street Journal, several women are suing their employers for discrimination because of their pregnancy. When Michelle Lawrence discovered she was pregnant, she avoided telling Ron Rogers, the owner of the public relations agency where she worked as a manager of media relations. “I had heard he wasn’t crazy about pregnant women,” she says. Instead she asked her immediate supervisor to tell him (Hughes, 1991). A few weeks later, Ms. Lawrence was fired. Ms. Lawrence filed a EEOC complaint against Rogers and Associated for pregnancy discrimination. An attorney for the firm claims the decision to terminate Ms. Lawrence was made before she announced her pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects pregnant women not only from being fired because they are pregnant, but also it protects them from not being hired or promoted, or demoted because of being pregnant. In the case of Raphaela R. Paterno, a credit manager for S.A. Maxwell Co., told the company’s president, Richard Emmert, that she was pregnant. The next day, according to a suit filed in the federal court in Chicago, Mr. Emmert told her that “while he liked her work he didn’t think she was capable to managing people.” The following day Mr. Emmert told Ms. Paterno that she was going to be demoted to clerk. After Ms. Paterno...
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