Is A Man Protected Against Pregnancy Discrimination If His Wife/Partner Becomes Pregnant?
Under federal law (the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA)) all employers with 15 or more workers are expressly prohibited from discriminating against an employee based on pregnancy status. While the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) does not expressly prohibit pregnancy, state courts have interpreted pregnancy discrimination as an inherent form of sex discrimination.
You may be wondering: Can a man claim pregnancy discrimination for adverse treatment due to his partner’s pregnancy? The answer is ‘no’—fathers and soon-to-be fathers are not protected under the law. Though, there may be a sex discrimination issue. Here, you will find a more detailed explanation about employment protections if your spouse or partner becomes pregnant.
Starting Point: Pregnancy Discrimination Laws Do Not Cover Spouses/Partners
There have been employment law claims filed before by men claiming pregnancy discrimination because they allege mistreatment due to their partner’s pregnancy. However, these claims have repeatedly failed. Courts have consistently ruled that this does not constitute pregnancy discrimination under the law. As explained by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the pregnancy discrimination laws “do not prohibit discrimination based on parental status.” It is a separate legal matter.
In other words, facing discriminatory treatment in the workplace because of the pregnancy of your spouse or partner is not actually pregnancy discrimination at all. Instead, it is a form of parental status discrimination or family status discrimination. Unfortunately, neither parental status discrimination and family status discrimination are clearly covered as a basis under federal law or Florida law. That being said, fathers who face discrimination for their partner’s pregnancy may still have options available.
Other Claims May Be Available: Specific Circumstances of the Case Always Matter
While a man cannot bring a pregnancy discrimination claim for mistreatment due to his partner’s pregnancy, he may have another viable employment law claim based on the circumstances of the case. Whether or not any other claim is applicable depends on a number of different factors, including the size of his employer and the specific allegations. Here are other claims that may be warranted:
- Sex Discrimination: Employers covered by sex discrimination laws cannot treat fathers less favorably than mothers. As a simple example, imagine that a large employer in Florida regularly grants mother short-term flexibility to deal with a child’s educational/medical needs. That same employer could not deny fathers the same short-term flexibility. Doing so is a form of sex-based discrimination.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): A man whose wife or partner is going through a challenging pregnancy may have the right to take unpaid, job-protected leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). An employer cannot punish a many in any manner for exercising his right to take leave.
Get Help From a Pregnancy Discrimination in Employment Lawyer in Florida
Pregnancy discrimination violates federal law. If you were subject to a pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, professional legal guidance and support is available. Contact our Florida pregnancy discrimination attorney today.