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Compensation awarded to women in pregnancy discrimination case

Many women in Colorado are no doubt familiar with the need to take time off of work when they reach the end of pregnancy. Most employers are usually happy to accommodate their employees when they go through such a life-changing experience. However, a recent discrimination case put one small business in quite an unfavorable light after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the company.

The small business was sued by the EEOC for discriminating against two pregnant employees. The lawsuit claimed that one woman was ultimately forced to quit her job while the other was demoted and repeatedly questioned about when she planned to stop working. The employer agreed to settle the lawsuit for $22,000 as well as train employees annually on pregnancy discrimination.

While this particular case took place in Utah, pregnant employees in Colorado too often face similar discrimination. Fortunately, pregnant employees and job applicants are protected from under federal law since the EEOC generally prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person's medical condition, including pregnancy.

There is a specific procedure for employees in Colorado to follow if they intend to file a workplace discrimination claim. Before a civil lawsuit can move forward, the employee must file a complaint with the EEOC or the Colorado Civil Rights Division within 300 days of the alleged discrimination.

Discrimination by employers in any form is always a problem, but discrimination against pregnant employees can cast a particularly harsh light on a business. Pregnant women who believe they have been discriminated against would do well to be fully aware of their rights and hold their employers accountable.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah's Beehive of Vernal settles EEOC discrimination suit," April 10, 2012

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