Sometimes evidence that you have been discriminated against may be clear
and direct. Other times evidence of discrimination may be indirect and
is based on inference or presumption. In a recent case,
Makowski v. SmithAmundsen, the 7th Circuit determined that a statement that reveals bias may be
used as direct proof of job discrimination, and that these statements
may be deemed “admissions” and not hearsay.
If you have questions concerning employment discrimination or believe that
you have been suffered job discrimination, it is important to speak to
Georgia discrimination lawyer to determine your next steps.
In Makowski, a marketing director of a Chicago Law Firm sued for pregnancy
bias and violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act after she was
terminated following a pregnancy leave of absence.
In addition to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits
sex discrimination “because of” your gender, Congress has passed some additional
anti-discrimination laws that protect women in the workplace. One of these
protections is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act that prohibits discrimination
based on pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. Rather
than giving pregnant women special treatment, the Pregnancy Discrimination
Act simply provides that pregnant women must be treated the same as non-pregnant
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal employment law that allows eligible employees
up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually under certain circumstances, including
the birth or care of a newborn or adopted child.
Here, Makowski gave notice of her pregnancy in the summer of 2007, and
had a due date in December. She was placed on bed rest in early November
and began taking her FMLA leave on November 26th. In January 2008 the
firm’s executive voted to eliminate Makowski’s position. The
Director of Human Resources, Molly O’Gara, later told her that she
had been fired because she was pregnant and took leave. She was also told
others had been discriminated against because they were pregnant and it
might be good to speak with a lawyer about the possibility of a class action.
The Seventh Circuit determined that the Director’s statement could
be used as direct evidence of pregnancy bias and FMLA violations, and
that they did not constitute inadmissible hearsay as determined by the
lower court. Rather, because the Director’s duties included making
decisions regarding which positions to eliminate and who to terminate,
as well as ensuring compliance with anti-discrimination laws – the
statements could be considered “admission by a party-opponent.”
Often employees believe they have been the victims of discrimination, but
have questions concerning how to prove they have been treated unfairly.
A knowledgeable Georgia discrimination lawyer can help answer your questions
and provide crucial guidance concerning your next steps. For more information,
please contact the dedicated
Atlanta employment attorneys at at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for a confidential consultation.