In a Title VII discrimination case, a worker can succeed in multiple possible ways. One is to provide direct evidence of discrimination. For example, if your boss finds out on Monday that you’re pregnant and, on Tuesday, sends you an email that says, “I just found out that you’re pregnant. Best of luck on a healthy pregnancy. Also, we don’t want pregnant workers so you’re fired, effective immediately,” then that’s direct evidence. As most experienced New York employment discrimination lawyers can tell you, though, obtaining that degree of blatant “smoking gun” proof is hard to do and rare.
As a result, many workers must rely on another method, called an “inference of discrimination.” Say that you tell your supervisor on Monday about your pregnancy. On Thursday, you receive a letter from Human Resources that says, “upon further review, we no longer believe that you have the capacity to perform all of the essential functions of your job, so we are terminating your employment, effective immediately.” That’s a potential example of an “inference of discrimination” situation.
The pregnancy discrimination case of S.S., an employee for the U.S. Postal Service, was an example of an “inference of discrimination” scenario where the worker succeeded.