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Pregnancy unnecessary for pregnancy bias suit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A woman doesn’t have to be pregnant to sue for discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Wait, what?

Women who have recently given birth are also covered, at least for a few months.

Recent case: Katherine worked for the Louis Vuitton fashion chain in New York. After returning from maternity leave, she learned that a manager was about to resign. She told her boss she was interested in a promotion to the job.

Usually, departing managers were replaced within weeks. Katherine was interviewed, but heard nothing for several months. She eventually followed up and received a second interview. But, she would later contend, the interviewer seemed uninterested, didn’t have her résumé and didn’t ask many questions.

Later she learned that a much older woman had been offered the job. Katherine sued, alleging pregnancy discrimination.

The company argued that Katherine hadn’t been pregnant for almost a year when it hired the older woman and therefore shouldn’t be able to sue under the PDA.

The court let her case go forward. It noted that when Katherine first expressed interest in the opening, it had been less than four months since she gave birth. If she can show the delay in hiring was a sham to avoid the appearance of pregnancy discrimination, then she may have a discrimination case.

The court also noted that since the woman who got the job was over childbearing age, Katherine could use that as evidence that the company was biased against those who can become pregnant. (Albin v. Louis Vuitton, et al., No. 13-CV-4356, SD NY, 2014)

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