Why I Couldn’t Help a Victim of Pregnancy Discrimination

An interesting issue came up today.  A potential client sent me the following email:

“I had my job threatened on several occasions, I have had raises held back due to taking leave for having a baby. I was threatened to be fired if I got pregnant (which I was pregnant at the time and had to take a leave of absence due to the stress of hiding my pregnancy). There is a camera in the office that records video and sound.”

Assuming these facts are all true and could be proven, this is a clear (and believe it or not, common) violation of the pregnancy protection laws.  BUT I HAD TO TURN THIS CLIENT DOWN FROM REPRESENTATION.  WHY?

Unfortunately, the employer she worked for only had 12 employees in the workplace. To be covered by most discrimination laws, the employer you work for has to have 15 or more employees (unless there is a local county ordinance modifying this requirements).   This is one of the pitfalls of employment law in Florida and under federal law.  The definition of “employer” (requiring 15 or more employees) is too broad in my opinion.  If the law applied to any “employer” which, in my opinion, it should, this woman would have been covered and entitled to recovery.

About the Author
Since 1999, Richard Celler has practiced exclusively in the are of employment law, and has handled thousands of employment related lawsuits in claims for overtime, discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, and on behalf of whistleblowers around the country.