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Summary Rulings Against Employers in Cases of Pregnancy Discrimination

Research and List cases where summary rulings have been made against the employer in cases of pregnancy discrimination.

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OK. So What I'm doing here is giving a list of cases and the relevant facts. Most of the questions can be answered from here. I give a short synopsis of the issues involved. Then, I give a brief section concerning the laws that must be followed and the conditions for a successful suit. Since most of these suits have been successful for the plaintiffs, the cases work perfectly.

CHAPTER 7 Trustee vs Gate Gourmet, Inc.
683 F.3d 1249 (2012)
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.
June 11, 2012.
Williams' pregnancy was clearly (by admission) a "substantial or motivating factor" in pregnant Williams loss of her job. Her boss would not find her a more light duty job. This is what led the jury to hold that her firing was a violation of Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). The issue here is that pregnancy itself must be the substantial or motivating factor. Even more, the employer must find other work (under the "reasonable accommodation" clause) that might be more suited for a pregnant woman.

Hamilton v. Southland Christian School, Inc., No. 11-13696 (11th Cir. May 16, 2012)
This one is different because the case revolved around whether the pregnant woman was fired for her pregnancy, or whether it was because she had yet married the father of her unborn (that is, she was unmarried when she conceived). This kind of discrimination also violated Title VII. The school worried about the moral implications of this, and Hamilton, a teacher, was fired as a result. Like the above, this case was also an appeal. It reversed a lower court order that said since there is no non-pregnant person to "control" against, Hamilton had not made her case. But since there is really no "control" case (how a non-pregnant teacher was treated), it was reversed in Hamilton's favor. In this case, all that needed to be proved was that her pregnancy (and the conditions under which it occurred) weer the main factors in her firing.

Holland v Gee Case No. 11-11659 (C.A. 11, Apr. 17, 2012)
Holland worked for the sheriffs office of Hillsboro. She became pregnant, and, as a result, was moved from one job to another; from data processing to the help desk. Holland protested this and was returned to her old job. She was terminated shortly after. She won this case. The transfer was a "demotion" since it was a more tedious job and less technical. This too, violated Title VII. This just shows that the job must be identical or very similar to the one she originally had. This is the case before or after leave. The nature of the job, therefore, is very important.

International Union v. Johnson Controls (1991) 499 U.S. 187 (1991), argued 10 Oct. 1990, decided 20 Mar. 1991
This case was decided by the Supreme Court 9-0.

This is an important case because Johnson Controls moved pregnant women from their battery producing operation because they worried about the unborn's exposure to lead. The worker in question won the case because it was decided that the company was not worried about lead exposure (and hence, protecting the baby), but that they wanted to avoid having to engage in lead-emissions reducing policies that would have been costly.

It should be noted in both Holland and International Union cases, the court stated (more or less) that worries about protecting the unborn are often an excuse for denying women proper treatment and promotion. Hence, this cannot be a reason for changing jobs when a worker becomes pregnant.

Since lead also harms the sex organs of males and there were no job changes for them, Johnson Controls could not claim that it was protection that mattered. It was pregnancy and refusing to put in stronger anti-emissions controls.

It should also be noted that this case applies to future ...

Solution Summary

The rules against employers in cases of pregnancy discrimination are determined.

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