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Wrongful Termination of Pregnant Employees  

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Wrongful Termination of Pregnant Employees  

Being pregnant should be a time of joy, anticipation, and excitement, not of frustration and despair. Unfortunately for some mothers, they experience the latter due to an employer who refuses to keep them on the payroll simply because they are pregnant, are expecting to become pregnant, or have given birth to a child. If you have been wrongfully terminated, a Chicago employment attorney can help.


Pregnant Employee and Applicant Rights in Illinois


Under Illinois Public Act 98-1050, it is unlawful for an employer to act in any of the following ways when the action is based on an employee’s or applicant’s pregnancy status:


  • Refuse to hire or promote;
  • Discipline, discharge, demote, or reduce pay;
  • Refuse to reinstate an employee at their former position and pay after they have taken time off from pregnancy;
  • Retaliate or harass in any way;
  • Refuse reasonable accommodations for the pregnant employee, such as a safe place to express milk, unless those accommodations would cause undue hardship for the employer;
  • Require the employee to accept accommodations that they do not wish for; and
  • Fail to post or keep employees informed of these rights.


Reasonable Accommodations


If a pregnant employee asks for a reasonable accommodation to be made, such as being allowed to take longer bathroom breaks or be moved to light duty, it is the burden of the employer to deliver these accommodations unless the employer can prove that it would cause them undue hardship, such as exorbitant costs. However, instead of making accommodations, some employers turn around and fire the employee for simply asking. If this has happened to you, your employer has violated state and federal laws.


Family and Medical Leave Act


Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, employees who have given birth to children (fathers are included too) are allowed at least 12 weeks of unpaid time off work to care for their child or recently adopted child. The time frame that a parent can use these 12 weeks is within one year of the child’s birth or adoption. During this time, the employee is allowed to stay on their group healthcare as well. Employers must allow the employee to return to their position at their original pay and status after these 12 weeks.


Contact a Chicago Employment Lawyer Today


Some employers view pregnancy as an expense that they have to bear due to loss of productivity, and fire employees for becoming pregnant or taking time off after they give birth. In both of these situations, the employer has acted unlawfully, and needs to be held accountable by a wrongful termination lawsuit. Call the wrongful termination attorneys at the Chicago law offices of Goldman & Ehrlich today for assistance.


Workplace Harassment of Muslims on the Rise  

Hate crimes against Muslims have never been higher in the U.S. than now. Even in 2001 after the September 11th attack on the Twin Towers, hate crimes against Muslims were fewer, according to the Pew Research Center. Hate crimes are not always easy to prove, and only a fraction of hate crimes are even treated or reported as such. Under the Trump Administration, hate crimes and discrimination against Muslims will undoubtedly continue to rise, as the preliminary numbers for 2017 in many areas show. One of the most devastating ways in which Muslims are discriminated against is in the workplace. Illinois and federal laws protect people of all races and religions from harassment and other forms of discrimination at work, but the first step is up to you. Contact a Chicago employment attorney at the first sign of discrimination.

Unlawful Acts


The Illinois Human Rights Act, along with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), prohibit an employer from retaliating or discriminating against employees of any type of religion or faith, or lack of a religion. The nationalistic attack on Muslims that Donald Trump and others have embraced and emboldened has caused serious harm to Muslim families throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Examples of discriminating against a Muslim employee, or a person that an employer believes to be Muslim, include the following:


  • Refusal to hire;
  • Refusal to promote;
  • Denying promotions and equal pay;
  • Not allowing traditional clothing, such as hijabs. The EEOC also grants clothing freedom to other religions, such as the Sikh turban, the Christian cross, and the right for female employees to not wear pants or shirt skirts (Muslim, Pentecostal Christian, and Orthodox Jewish);
  • Enforcing grooming practices that go against Islam, such as requiring beards to be shaved. Again, the EEOC grants similar rights to other religious groups, such as allowing Rastafarian dreadlocks and Sikh uncut beards and hair; and
  • Much more, such as harassment, allowing harassment to happen in the workplace by not taking reasonable steps to stop it, or retaliating against the employee for filing a discrimination claim or asking for a reasonable accommodation to be made for their religious practices.


Call a Chicago Attorney Today


Unfortunately, discrimination against Muslim employees happens on a daily basis in Chicago, which hurts the Muslim community’s chances to make a living, receive promotions, work in peace, and to feel accepted by their coworkers. If you have been discriminated against in any way, you need to contact a Chicago employment lawyer with Goldman & Ehrlich today for help.


Sexual Harassment and the Employer’s Duties


As an Employer, When is the Company Held Liable for Sexual Harassment?


Employers, whether they are small or large, have many responsibilities in the workplace and these responsibilities are not limited to taking stock of inventory or answering to shareholders. As an employer, you must not only treat your employees with respect and avoid discrimination, but you also have a duty to protect employees from each other. Even if an employer did not sexually harass an employee, they can still be held liable if a manager engages in sexual harassment, or employer failed to take effective action to stop an employee from harassing a co-worker.


Hostile Work Environment


An employer can be held liable for sexual harassment if they failed to take reasonable action to prevent harassment from taking place. For example, if an employer knew or should have known that certain employees were sexually harassing other employees, the employer has a legal obligation to intervene. While traditional sexual harassment training will not prevent harassment from taking place, it might reduce damages or limit the employer’s liability in sexual harassment cases, according to the New York Times. More successful measures might include civility training (teaching people how to behave as opposed to how not to behave), empowering bystanders to speak up, promoting more women, and encouraging or even requiring reporting.


When is the Perpetrator Considered to be the “Employer”?


If you are the sole owner of a small business that only has four employees, it is somewhat obvious that you are the sole employer. However, in large businesses, it is not so simple. If an employee claims that their employer made unwanted sexual advancements, engaged in quid pro quo sexual harassment, or sexually assaulted the employee, the employer will be held liable when one of the following parties commits the act:


  • The president, CEO, or owner of the company can be held personally liable for sexual harassment that they engage in;
  • Immediate supervisors who have authority over the victimized employee;
  • Supervisors who engage in quid pro quo harassment, such as only providing a promotion for an employee if he/she sleeps with the supervisor.


If another employee or non-immediate supervisor committed the alleged sexual assault, the employer is still liable if he had reasonable notice of the harassment and failed to act, or could have reasonably anticipated that an employee might harass a co-worker. If the employer was aware that an employee engaged in prior harassment, and then engages in harassment in the future, this is something the employer should have reasonably anticipated.



Contact Us Today


According to a recent ABC poll, 54 percent of women have experienced “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances,” 30 percent of women have experienced this behavior from male colleagues, and 25 percent of women said that these men had sway over their careers. Sexual harassment is a real threat to all types of businesses and employers. For assistance with a claim, call Goldman & Ehrlich today. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case.