Best Ohio Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney Answer: Can I sue my boss for pregnancy discrimination? What kind of lawyer do I need to sue my job for gender discrimination? Who is the best employment discrimination lawyer in Ohio?
There are laws that protect women from getting wrongfully terminated and mistreated because they are pregnant. Specifically, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as Ohio’s Fair Employment Practice Law (Ohio R.C. § 4112.01et seq.) makes it illegal for your employer or boss to discriminate against pregnant woman. Our employment discrimination attorneys have blogged about these pregnancy laws before. See:
- Top Gender Discrimination Lawyer Reply: Can My Job Fire Me Because I Took Pregnancy Leave?
- Top Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney Reply: Can My Job Fire New Mothers?
- Pregnancy And Maternity Discrimination Excuses That Have Failed
- Top Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer Reply: Can I Be Sent Home From Work Because I’m Pregnant?
- Pregnancy Discrimination: Still Happening, Still Unlawful!
Now, many employees say, okay, so it is illegal, but what is a pregnancy discrimination case really worth?
The news that AutoZone Got Hit With $185 Million In Punitive Damages (in addition to $872,000 for lost wages and emotional stress) after a jury found that it had discriminated against women certainly makes it clear that discrimination on the basis of gender or pregnancy, or retaliating against an employee for opposing discrimination, makes juries angry. What is less clear to many people though is where such a huge number comes from, and whether their case might be worth as much.
The truth is that when left to a jury, any case could possibly be worth millions of dollars. However, it is incredibly rare.
Certain things have to line up just right: strong evidence, a good judge, facts that piss off the jury, and the right mix of jurors – not to mentioned skilled and experienced lawyers. When these things come together, you get what’s known as a “runaway jury” – a jury who awards damages based on their anger towards the employer more than the employee’s actual damages, and who want to “send a message” to the employer.
The AutoZone case is a good example of the right mix of circumstances. The employee started off at AutoZone as customer service representative, and was later promoted to a part sales manager position. However, when the pregnant employee attempted to be promoted to the store manager position, she faced backlash. The employee further alleged that district managers were told to stop promoting women and to get rid of female store managers by the vice president for AutoZone’s western operations, who allegedly told the employee’s district manager “what are we running here, a boutique? Get rid of these women” during a store visit.
The pregnant employee was eventually promoted to a store manager position after she complained to HR in 2004. However, when she became pregnant in 2005, her manager suggested that the employee resign from her position in management because he believed she would not be able to handle the job responsibilities while she was pregnant. Despite the employee’s refusal to step down, she was demoted back to a part sales manager anyways in 2006, shortly after she gave birth to her son. Subsequently, employee’s manager tried to force her out by making her work extra long hours, making her redo work for no reason, and by yelling at her in front of her co-workers. In 2008, employee filed her lawsuit, alleging that she had been demoted because of her gender and pregnancy.
Shortly after the employee had her deposition taken, AutoZone retaliated against her by using its loss prevention program as an excuse to fire her by blaming the employee when a customer service representative misplaced an envelope containing $400. The loss prevention employee who investigated the missing money later testified that she never suspected the employee was responsible and that AutoZone was targeting the employee.
This evidence, combined with the testimony of one of AutoZone district managers that he had been offered a promotion if he fired all of the women in his stores, combined to create an angry jury that decided to “throw the book” at AutoZone.
It is unlikely that the employee will see the money from AutoZone anytime soon, however. The amount of punitive damages a employee can receive is generally limited to a 9:1 ratio to the compensatory damages under concepts of due process outlined by the Supreme Court- in this case, roughly $9 million. Then, there is the time factor. AutoZone has already moved to appeal the decision, and it could be years before the employee actually gets paid.
So is it worth holding out for trial on your discrimination case? There are plenty of juries who award an employee no money, or only a couple of months of salary. Unlike a large verdict, the employee cannot appeal a jury verdict that isn’t big enough. Ultimately it comes down to your tolerance of risk, and how strong your case is. But, the most important thing is to have an attorney that you trust to guide you through your case and options.
If you are facing discrimination or harassment simply because you are pregnant, protect your legal rights — call the right attorney. Under federal and Ohio employment laws, employers cannot harass, fire, wrongfully terminate, discriminate against, demote, or wrongfully discipline a female employee just because she got pregnant. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation at 866-797-6040, you will meet with an attorney from The Spitz Law Firm to discuss wrongful discrimination claims and help you determine the best way to pursue your gender/sex discrimination claims. Our pregnancy discrimination lawyers know your rights and will fight to protect them.
The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “What should I do …”, “I’m being discriminated against …”, or “How do I …”, your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to pregnancy discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.