What happens when a pregnant woman gets fired?

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Pregnant Mom gets FIRED and Baby Almost DIES #BabyWalter

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MEN Against Pregnancy Discrimination


Why Do We Want Justice for Baby Walter? (MEN Against Pregnancy Discrimination)

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What happens when a pregnant woman gets fired? #BabyWalter

What happens when a pregnant woman gets fired? Baby Walter would tell you, if he could talk.

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Senator Oley Larsen Wants #JusticeForBabyWalter

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Why Justice For One Equals Justice For All

In 2015, Walter Eddings’ mother, a Nuclear Radiation Worker, was fired by IBA Molecular/Zevacor, approximately 7 days after declaring her pregnancy to her employer.

by Vladimire Herard

He survived his mother’s struggle with her pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination case. And lived to tell about it.

Two years later, her case is not resolved.

So Felicia, 30, a Pharmacist, is taking the fight for her only child, one-year-old Walter Eddings — viral and national.

With the help of friends, she is launching a legal justice campaign and petition for her son — to ensure that other infants and toddlers don’t endure what he did.

Since the launch of the site, Felicia has secured numerous online and written petition signatures for her cause. She has also gained the supports of several politicians, including Senator Oley Larsen.

Felicia added that she may consider creating a foundation for women who have been wrongfully terminated and a human rights site in the future. She hopes to raise at least $180,000 to assist women facing bias. The Justice for Walter campaign will also be a future resource for working mothers who believe they were subject to pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination.

“We’re launching a Justice for Walter campaign,” Felicia said. “[Look at my baby’s] cute face. This is [what happens] when a woman loses a job while pregnant. Justice for Walter is justice for any child. This baby could be anybody’s baby.”

On Dec. 4, 2015, Felicia was terminated from her Nuclear Pharmacist job by her employer, IBA Molecular, also known as Zevacor, a nuclear medicine company with branches in North America. Without a job, Felicia lost her access to company healthcare benefits.

As a result of losing benefits, she found it hard to secure medical care from an obstetrician/gynecologist until the fifth month of her pregnancy. Her son, Walter Eddings, was later born with disabilities.

She was four-weeks pregnant at the time and declared her pregnancy the previous week to IBA Molecular, as required by law and by the field of nuclear radiation. Although the case has yet to go to court, severl Human Rights organizations have reached out to Felicia in support.

Felicia could not receive sufficient prenatal care. She found it difficult to make ends meet and was forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs. Four months later, Walter was born with cardiac, pulmonary and neurological health complications. Mainly due to a heart condition and nerve damage, he stayed for 23 days in the intensive care unit of a hospital.

Due to her negative experience with IBA Molecular/Zevacor, Felicia now avoids nuclear pharmacist jobs. She feels that the predominantly male management at the Romeoville, Illinois location may have contributed to her termination. “I see them,” she said. “I skip them. I don’t want to get burned twice.

“I see them,” she said. “I skip them.”


Felicia’s response is not uncommon. Studies have shown that many people who get fired have little interest in returning to the jobs or fields that they were in previously. A form of trauma occurs, causing many individuals to seek alternative sources of employment.

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What Can Happen After … A Woman Is Fired While Pregnant

by Vladimire Herard

A complaint to the U.S. Justice Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division office may lead to a variety of actions and outcomes for a woman employee after she has been fired during her pregnancy.

To handle pregnancy discrimination complaints, the EEOC and a local Wage and Hour Division office operate under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1964 and 1990, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — well known as ADA, PDA, FMLA and Title VII respectively.

The former agency is charged with investigating pregnancy cases for businesses of 15 or more workers while the latter agency is responsible for probing family and medical leave discrimination complaints for companies of 50 or more employees.

By legal definition, an employer commits pregnancy discrimination against a woman employee when the company treats her unfavorably because of “pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.”

The PDA outlaws pregnancy discrimination based on any facet of employment, including “hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.”

Actions, Outcomes

Actions and outcomes for filing can vary, ultimately taking the form of “back pay, hiring, promotion, reinstatement, front pay, reasonable accommodation of a woman employee during pregnancy at a worksite and the payment of attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees or court costs.”

Additionally, depending on the strength of her case and if she chooses to sue, a woman employee may be found to be a victim of pregnancy discrimination and be awarded compensatory or punitive damages to be provided by her employer.

Companies are called upon by the EEOC and possibly the Wage and Hour office to work to cease the discriminatory practice, correct any wrongful actions taken against women employees and reduce the odds of recurrence.

The employer may also be required to post notices in the workplace informing other workers, including the disabled, of the violations and their remedies.

Charging Procedures

After a woman employee is fired for being pregnant and if she consults her lawyer, a legal aid society or other authoritative body, she may be urged to file a complaint with the EEOC.

For the complaint, the woman employee will be expected to be factual and to provide as much detail as possible of the discriminatory act against her.
She may or may not approach an attorney for help in filing the complaint, though most lawyers would offer free consultations as many would want to take on the case in court because of the monetary incentives.

She may contact the human resources department of her employer after she has spoken with and possibly filed the complaint with the EEOC and the local Wage and Hour Division office.

If either agency ask her if she has consulted the human resources director, the woman employee may respond that she wanted to ensure a more expedient, more effective method of resolving her dispute before she spoke with him or her.

The woman employee may also approach local legal aid societies or such nonprofits as Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Once filed with the EEOC or the Wage and Hour Division office, the charge may be managed in a number of ways.

Firstly, the EEOC may assign her case immediate investigation if the details point to discrimination.

If there is strong evidence of discrimination, the agency will send a letter of determination to the employer and the woman employee to discuss the facts of the finding.

The EEOC will then start the process of conciliation to devise a remedy with the employer for the discriminatory act against the woman employee.

Again, remedies include “back pay, hiring, promotion, reinstatement, front pay, reasonable accommodation, other actions that will make an individual ‘whole’, attorneys fees, expert witness fees and court costs.”

With a finding of discrimination in a complaint, the EEOC may also determine that compensatory and punitive damages are warranted.

Compensatory damages are meant to make up for actual or future financial losses suffered by the woman employee and for mental distress and inconvenience because of pregnancy discrimination.

Punitive damages are aimed at remedying the woman employee if her employer — except for federal, state or local government employers — acted, by legal definition, with “malice or reckless indifference.”

Under provisions of the ADA, damages may not be provided if an employer can prove that “good faith” efforts were attempted to accommodate the woman employee.

However, if remedies and damages are required, an employer may again have to place notices where they can be seen by all workers in a worksite.

The notices may describe the violations made against the woman employee in question and advise all who view them of their rights under law.

The notices must also state that the woman employee is free from retaliation for seeking legal redress for her grievance.

Finally, the employer is expected to take steps towards righting the wrongs committed against the woman employee.
Workplace managers and supervisors must get to the root of the discriminatory practice, put an end to it and ensure that it will never recur.

If the conciliation succeeds, investigatory procedures are finalized and the need for a court case is eliminated.

Secondly, if the body of evidence is not strong, the complaint may be categorized as fit for follow-up investigation to judge whether or not a violation has taken place.

Thirdly, at any phase of the investigation, the agency may engage the woman employee and her employer, if both are willing to do so, to settle the case.

If neither party is interested, the investigation into the case continues.
Fourthly, as part of the probe, the EEOC may request information, interview company staff, examine documentation and visit the worksite where discrimination occurred.

After the investigation, the agency may speak with the woman employee and the employer about the evidence.

Fifthly, depending on the facts in the case, the EEOC and the Wage and Hour Division office may elect to initiate a confidential mediation process between the employer and woman employee if both parties are interested.

Mediation is provided as an alternative to investigation. This may entail urging the employer to comply with the ADA, PDA, Title VII and FMLA laws and allow the woman employee to keep her job, ensure that she is not fired or retaliated against in any manner, including providing reduced hours, forcing her to work unfavorable shifts or imposing unwanted duties.

If the process fails, the EEOC resumes investigation and the woman employee may file a lawsuit.

Sixthly, at any stage of the investigation, the complaint can be discarded if the EEOC decides that a probe will not result in a finding of a violation of the law.

This can occur at the initial interview phase, possibly with the woman employee, if no evidence is found to back the charge.

Seventhly, with a dismissal, the EEOC issues a notice that grants the woman employee 90 days to sue her employer on her own.

The woman employee can also request such a notice if she does not receive it from the EEOC 180 days after the she first filed a charge under Title VII and the ADA.

Under the ADA, the woman employee can sue after 60 days of filing a complaint with the agency but not later than 90 days after the EEOC informs her that it has completed the investigation.

The agency may also mail her the forms to file the lawsuit. She may complete the paperwork and await the response of a courtroom judge.

Use of Attorneys

In the case that the EEOC may have found grounds of discriminatory behavior, mediation has failed and the woman employee in question is considering a lawsuit, she may consider finding an attorney but may be concerned that she may not be able to afford one.

However, many lawyers take an interest to workplace discrimination cases, especially pregnancy discrimination ones, because of the potential for a financial windfall.

If solid evidence exists to back her case, most will take on a woman employee’s EEOC complaint.

As a result, she may call a local chapter of the American Bar Association to seek and request an attorney.

In so doing, the woman employee must take into consideration the statute of limitations in her state for the violation committed as it pertains to the ADA.

In some cases, the lawyers may not charge her at all, including for an initial consultation, until the case is complete because of the legislated accommodations afforded pregnant workers in the workplace and the expected financial rewards. They will enter contingency agreements to take a percentage of the sums awarded.

This method makes the court case more expensive as many attorneys may seek 30 to 40 percent of total compensation awarded their female clients after a trial.

However, at the same time, oftentimes a gesture as simple as a strongly-worded letter from the lawyer that demonstrates an employer’s failure to comply with federal law may be effective.

American Association of University Women, “Know Your Rights: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/legal-resources/know-your-rights-at-work/pregnancy-discrimination-act/

American Pregnancy, “Employment Policies Relating to Pregnancy and Childbirth,” http://americanpregnancy.org/planning/pregnancy-discrimination/

Cornell University pregnancy discrimination law, https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/29/1604.10
U.S. Department of Labor compliance policy, http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm and http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm

U.S. Justice Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,

U.S. Justice Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission disability laws, https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm

U.S. Justice Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission disability regulations, https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability_regulations.cfm

Your Rights Pregnancy Discrimination, https://www.workplacefairness.org/pregnancy-discrimination
Zillman, Claire, Fortune magazine, “UPS loses Supreme Court pregnancy discrimination case,” http://fortune.com/2015/03/25/ups-pregnancy-discrimination/

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