In May 2018, Governor McMaster signed the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act, which created sweeping protections for pregnant workers. It requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for any medical need relating to pregnancy or a related condition. On the whole, pregnant workers are better protected and less likely to be discriminated against than they were before its passage. However, discrimination still occurs, and it is a good idea to be aware of your rights should you face that kind of treatment. If you believe you have been discriminated against due to pregnancy in South Carolina, seek assistance from the law firm of Hitchcock & Potts.
“Reasonable” Is Key
As of 2018, twenty-three states plus the District of Columbia have specific statutes to combat pregnancy discrimination, with many of them being enacted fairly recently. South Carolina’s is one of the more expansive, especially in the southern U.S., covering all employers (not just public entities) who have 15 or more employees. In other words, any employer who already falls under the South Carolina Human Affairs Law (the state’s major antidiscrimination law already on the books).
Like the state’s other antidiscrimination laws, the Pregnancy Accommodations Act mandates reasonable accommodations—with the key word being reasonable. This is an important thing to keep in mind if you are intending to file suit. The concept of reasonableness in law is subjective, because what is “reasonable” to one person may not be reasonable at all to another. The same is true with companies—a very small company may not be able to make an accommodation that a larger company can.
Have You Been Discriminated Against?
If you feel that you have been discriminated against, you have two options in terms of seeking redress under state law, or you might file with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Depending on your situation, the state Pregnancy Accommodations Act may protect you, but not always. If your issue is not over accommodations, you may have a better chance at a fair outcome by filing suit under the South Carolina Human Affairs Law. Either way, you have a specific time frame in which to file. Under state law, the limit is 180 days, though if you file with the EEOC it is longer.
You generally are not permitted to file a charge unless you have exhausted all other remedies with your employer—for example, taking the matter up with your Human Resources department. However, if none of these options are successful, the SCHAC or the EEOC will investigate your claim, and either take it up on your behalf or grant you the right to file suit in court for yourself. Either way, it is a good idea to contact a dedicated attorney who can help ensure your rights are protected.
Call A South Carolina Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Being pregnant should be a delightful time, instead of having to deal with fallout from your employer. If you believe that you have been discriminated against due to pregnancy in South Carolina, calling an experienced employment discrimination lawyer at the firm of Hitchcock & Potts can help put you on a path toward a satisfactory outcome. Attorney A. Christopher Potts has years of experience with these cases. Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.