State laws in Florida and federal laws protect women from experiencing adverse work-related decisions due to pregnancy and medical conditions that can arise due to a pregnancy. Unfair treatment as a result of pregnancy can come in a wide variety of forms. Reduced hours, demotions, even an unlawful firing can be the basis of a pregnancy discrimination claim under state and federal law.
Recently, the OWN network, which Oprah Winfrey formed, was served with a sex discrimination lawsuit. The action did not occur within Florida, but the story highlights the types of events that can occur at work during a pregnancy.
A former senior executive with the OWN network says that she was on track for a position as a vice president with the network until she became pregnant. When she became pregnant, she says that a temporary employee was brought in to cover her job duties due to the pregnancy and pregnancy-related medical issues.
Her duties were reassigned and she her performance reviews changed. She says in her sex discrimination lawsuit that her superior provided a "negative and untruthful performance" review after she became pregnant. The change in her performance reviews became a potential obstacle to future promotions.
She left on maternity leave in February 2012 and says that the network eliminated her position. The chance of the vice president position also evaporated due to the pregnancy, according to the workplace discrimination lawsuit. The former executive says that the job went to the temp who was brought in to cover for her during the pregnancy.
The woman's attorney recently told ABC News that the lawsuit is against the network itself and not aimed at Oprah. Representatives for the network reportedly have not commented on the pending lawsuit.
Source: ABC News, "Ups and Downs of the Oprah Winfrey Network," Luchina Fisher, Feb. 5, 2013