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Protect Your Rights

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protecting the rights of employees in rhode island

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Your ability to procreate may count against you

If more Rhode Island women were able to hide their pregnancies, employers would not have to be creative in finding reasons for firing pregnant employees. Unfortunately, discriminatory actions against pregnant workers are rampant, and many of those who are not fired frequently must endure adverse treatment, derogatory remarks, demotions and more.

If you are a pregnant employee who suffered pregnancy discrimination, you may find comfort knowing that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers protection against pregnancy discrimination. Before you can take your claim to court, you must file a complaint with the EEOC. The commission will first examine the circumstances surrounding your dismissal before allowing you to pursue recovery of losses through the civil justice system.

How does the EEOC complaint filing process work?

  • You can report unfair dismissal, demotion, unwarranted disciplinary action, denied leave or time to visit your gynecologist -- or any other adversative action that you believe is pregnancy discrimination.
  • You must make sure you file your complaint within the time limit allowed by Rhode Island for such matters.
  • The EEOC will follow up your complaint with an investigation.
  • Your employer will receive an order to provide its reasons for the actions it took against you.
  • If the EEOC is dissatisfied with your company's response, it will take the investigation further. They will conduct personal interviews and examine documented evidence of disciplinary or other action.
  • The EEOC may even arrange for your employer to take part in mediation to come to some agreement.
  • If this is unsuccessful -- or if there isn't any further investigation involving mediation -- the EEOC will issue a letter that gives you the "Right to Sue."
  • With this, you can proceed to file a lawsuit against your employer - but be mindful that there is also a time limit attached to filing such a claim.

If your original complaint with the EEOC was not for dismissal because of your pregnancy, but rather adverse treatment, the fact that you filed that complaint protects you against any further hostile action at your workplace. Furthermore, if your employers retaliate in any manner after you filed your complaint, you might have additional claims against the company.

This may seem like a complicated process to tackle while you are uncomfortable because your due date is not far off or because you have a newborn baby that needs all your attention. However, you need not let your employer -- or former employer -- get away with pregnancy discrimination. There are employment law attorneys in Rhode Island who will navigate your lawsuit and leave you to take care of your pregnancy or your baby. Experienced attorneys can advocate for you, and whether they facilitate successful negotiations or litigate in court, they will endeavor to recover both the financial and emotional damages you suffered.

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