Can I do something?

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Can I do something?

In January this year my husband and I
were in a car accident. Not long before
this I had been promoted with a pay
raise and more responsibilities. Upon
returning to work after my sprained
ankle had healed, my supervisor and the
Human Resources manager sat down with me
and told me that due to me being 7
months pregnant, since I was more
emotional, could not see my feet, and
would have to get on the floor and lift
heavy things all of which stood the
same in my original position as well
that I would keep the same pay but would
go back to only operating the machines
rather than my promoted position. Now,
since I was returning from FMLA, is this
allowed? Or should I go forward trying
to sue for emotional distress, punitive
damages and discrimination? I made it
very clear i wanted to do my job that I
worked very hard to earn and they kept
saying I ‘thought I was better than
operating presses’

Asked on June 28, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An employer may not discriminate against a woman due to preganancy: that is considered anti-female discrimination (illegal sex-based discrimination), since only women get pregnant. The comments you decribe (more emotional; "could not see my feet") are anti-female comments which suggest there was anti-women discrmination going on.
It is also illegal to retaliate against (punish) someone for having used FMLA leave, so it appears illegal retaliation may be going on.
You have already taken the correct first steps: filing complaints with federal and state agencies (e.g. EEOC, department of labor--either federal or state, and your state's equal/civil rights agency). See what happens with those complaints: if the agencies can help you, their help is free, and they have expertise in these areas. If you don't get a satisfactory resolutino from them, you can always looking into filing a lawsuit. If you want, contact an attorney now to discuss the case, to make sure you don't miss any deadlines (but of course, you'll have to pay your own lawyer), but it is likely the case that you should let the investigations play out first.


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