Gender Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney Cambridge MA
When you need a gender pregnancy discrimination attorney to assist with sex-related discrimination issues at work, the Cambridge, MA attorneys at Bennett & Belfort, P.C. are here to support you. The attorneys at Bennett & Belfort have represented countless employees who have faced work-related issues stemming from their pregnancy, whether it was questions related to pregnancy leave, explaining the leave process, negotiating a severance agreement of the employer terminates the individual before, during, or after pregnancy leave, or litigating a claim of pregnancy discrimination and claims related thereto. Located just minutes away from Boston, Massachusetts, Bennett & Belfort’s lawyers are a trusted resource for employees who have been the subject of discrimination, and require the assistance of attorneys.
If an employee’s employment has ended and they require a gender discrimination attorney in Cambridge Massachusetts, feel free to contact Bennett & Belfort, P.C. which has a team of Employment Law attorneys that can discuss your employment, termination, review claims of gender discrimination, and assess whether discrimination has occurred
In reviewing whether gender discrimination has occurred, the gender pregnancy discrimination lawyers at Bennett & Belfort, P.C. routinely counsel women to assess whether the individual has potential legal claims against their employers for harassment and/or discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination.
The negotiation and litigation of gender discrimination claims is one of the core practice areas of our firm. Employees in Cambridge, Massachusetts and beyond have retained Bennett & Belfort, P.C. to litigate their sex discrimination cases. Sometimes this results in a negotiated settlement while other times it leads to litigation. Our attorneys have been lead counsel in many cases involving gender discrimination. If Bennett & Belfort, P.C. is retained to negotiate and/or litigate your gender discrimination claim, it will also assess whether your employer has violated any other laws.
If an employee believes they have a pregnancy discrimination claim against their employer, there are certain criteria and many laws that should be assessed
Bennett & Belfort lawyers will explain what is required to prove a pregnancy discrimination claim under Massachusetts law, which includes examining whether the individual took legally-protected leave. Many individuals in Massachusetts take leave pursuant to the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave law (“PFML”). The PFML law took effect in January 2021, and applies to employees, certain “covered” individuals, and self-employed persons. This is available for both maternity and paternity leave. The PFML law affords employees with the ability to take paid time off from work for medical or family reasons. See M.G.L. c. 175M. It is funded through both employer and employee contributions. Many individuals will notify their companies that they are pregnant and, therefore, will require leave. The employee, will then take leave pursuant to the PFML for pregnancy, postnatal care, or recovery from child birth. The forms for PFML are located at www.mass.gov.
Once an employee notifies their employer that they are taking PFML leave, that employee is protected from retaliation, including but not limited to, an adverse action such as an employee reprimand and/or termination. Id. at § 9(a). Under the PFML law, there is a presumption of retaliation if an employer makes a negative change to the employee’s terms or conditions of employment within six months of leave. Id. at § 9(c).
Bennett & Belfort attorneys will assess the facts of the case, to determine whether there was retaliation that occurred because of the leave pursuant to the PFML. Pursuant to Section 9(d) of the PFML, an aggrieved employee is entitled to recover three times lost pay, emotional distress damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. See M.G.L. c. 175M § 9(d).
Of note, some individuals, if they qualify, will seek to take leave pursuant to the federal law called the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The forms for FMLA are located at www.dol.gov. Per the Department of Labor’s website, “the FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.”
Eligible employees are entitled to:
- Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
- the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
- the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
- to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
- a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
- any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
- Twenty-six work weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
Bennett & Belfort attorneys have knowledge in the area of pregnancy leave, and can review the employee’s paperwork to see whether they were approved for legally-protected leave from their employer and, if so, whether the employer violated those laws.
Pursuant to M.G.L. c.151B § 4(1), “[i]t shall be an unlawful practice…[f]or an employer, by himself or his agent, because of the … sex … of any individual … to discriminate against such individual … in terms, conditions or privileges of employment …” Pregnancy-based discrimination is protected under sex discrimination. Cumpiano v. Banco v. Santander Puerto Rico, 902 F.2d 148, 153 (1st Cir. 1990); See School Committee of Braintree v. MCAD, 377 Mass. 424, 430 (1979) (“Pregnancy and childbirth are sex-linked characteristics and any actions of an employer which unduly burden an employee because of her pregnancy or the requirement of a maternity leave are considered sex discrimination”). Adverse employment actions based on a female employee’s pregnancy constitutes unlawful discrimination. See Sch. Comm. of Braintree, 377 Mass. at 424; White v. University of Massachusetts at Boston, 401 Mass. 553, 557 (1991).
To prove a prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination, the plaintiff must show: (1) she was in a protected class; (2) she adequately performed her job; (3) she was treated adversely; and (4) the adverse action occurred under circumstances that give rise to a reasonable inference of discrimination. Sullivan v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 444 Mass. 34 (2005).
Violations of M.G.L. c. 151B allow for the recovery of damages including back pay, front pay, emotional distress, punitive damages, mandatory attorneys’ fees, costs and interest.
Also, Bennett & Belfort lawyers will assess whether the company retaliated against the individual for taking pregnancy leave. A company and its representatives are under a duty not to retaliate against an employee for having exercised her rights under M.G.L. c. 151B. See M.G.L. c. 151B, § 4(4); Mole v. University of Massachusetts, 442 Mass. 582, 591-92 (2004).
To establish a prima facie case of retaliation under M.G.L. c. 151B, a plaintiff (employee) must show that she (1) engaged in protected conduct; (2) suffered some adverse action; and (3) that there is a causal connection between the protected conduct and the adverse action. Id.
If a woman who has a sex discrimination claim against their employer would like to pursue litigation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the attorneys at Bennett & Belfort, P.C. will assess your legal claims and proceed accordingly
If the employee believes they have been the subject of gender discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination, by their former employer, litigation may ensue. Bennett & Belfort attorneys have litigated cases across Massachusetts. The first step is often a filing with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). The MCAD has jurisdiction to hear cases of gender discrimination in Massachusetts, including pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment.
Turn to experienced gender discrimination attorneys located in Cambridge, Massachusetts to represent you against your employer
At Bennett & Belfort, our attorneys have been litigating gender discrimination claims on behalf of employees for years. Our attorneys are skilled in many practice areas and, when assessing potential legal claims, account for Massachusetts discrimination laws.
Contact a Bennett & Belfort gender discrimination attorney located in Cambridge, Massachusetts
If your employer has treated you differently because of your sex, including issues having to do with gender discrimination, in or around Cambridge, Massachusetts, feel free to contact Bennett & Belfort, P.C. online or by telephone at (617) 577-8800. To speak with an experienced discrimination attorney in Cambridge, MA, employees can contact Bennett & Belfort, P.C.