Fight Against Pregnancy Discrimination in Your Workplace
Learn about your rights as a pregnant person. Read on to learn when you may need to hire an experienced pregnancy discrimination lawyer if you feel you have been discriminated against at work.
Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
Pregnancy should be an enjoyable time in your life. It should be a time when you prepare for this new addition to your family. However, for many workers, pregnancy is a time of strain and stress due to employers who treat them differently due to the condition.
It is never OK for an employer to mistreat you due to pregnancy or to use your pregnancy as an excuse for certain actions. While women most often are the victims of pregnancy discrimination, men can also fall victim.
With it being so far-reaching, it is essential that you fight back when it happens to you. Seek the help of a pregnancy discrimination lawyer who can help you ensure this does not happen to anyone else.
Pregnancy Discrimination Defined
Pregnancy discrimination occurs whenever an employer treats a person unfavorably due to pregnancy or any condition related to pregnancy. Related conditions would include childbirth injuries, pregnancy restrictions and breastfeeding.
Your employer cannot take certain actions against you because you are pregnant, such as asking you in an interview if you have children or want to have children. An employer cannot use pregnancy in any decision-making process.
Examples of Discrimination
There are many ways that an employer could discriminate against you because of pregnancy. Your employer could fail to provide accommodations that you need to stay safe. They could pass you over for a promotion or deny you a raise because you were not at work to properly access your work quality due to pregnancy.
Your employer might reduce your hours, thinking this is helping you, but it is discrimination. After announcing your pregnancy, your employer unexpectedly lays you off even though you were not in line for the layoff.
Other examples include an employer making it uncomfortable for your to pump breastmilk at work or fire you for doing something that you already requested not to do because it could put you or your baby at physical risk.
Since pregnancy discrimination can also happen towards the partner who is not pregnant, you want to pay attention to more subtle acts. For example, your partner is pregnant, and you have health insurance at work that will cover the pregnancy, but your employer drops your insurance once they find out about the pregnancy.
Protections From the Law
There is a range of laws at the federal level that provide workers protection against pregnancy discrimination. The most prominent is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Under this act, you have protection if your employer has 15 or more employees. It forbids any type of pregnancy discrimination in any aspect of employment:
- Job assignment
If you want to report a violation of the act, then you have 180 days to file a claim. Federal employees only have 45 days. States may extend this time limit in their own laws.
Under this act, the main measurement for discrimination is comparing the treatment of the pregnant employee to the treatment of other employees who have a temporary disability. Employers must treat pregnancy as they would any other temporary ailment.
An employer must set the same standards and exceptions. For example, if they normally provide paid leave for a temporary disability, then they must do the same for pregnancy. The employer cannot single out a pregnant employee with special requests, such as asking for a doctor’s note, if they do not do that for other disabled employees.
An important point to pregnancy discrimination is that it only applies to on-the-job situations as long as you can still perform the major functions of your job. Once you no longer can do that, then you will have to take time off from your job or request a change in duties from your employer. Your employer should treat you as they do any other disabled worker in this situation.
Americans With Disabilities Act
The ADA may also cover pregnancy when a disability results from the condition. It requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.
Family Medical Leave Act
The FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for your new child. This applies to both parents. It does require that you have worked for your employer for at least 12 months prior to requesting the leave, and it only applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
During this time off, your employer must keep your job available to you to return you or an equal position. It also requires your employer to maintain your health insurance during this time.
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides rights for nursing mothers. It requires employers to allow reasonable accommodations for you to express breast milk. This includes a space in which to do it that is private and not a bathroom and breaks throughout the day to pump.
States may also have their own laws aimed towards pregnancy discrimination. Some of them offer far more rights and protections. California, for example, has extensive laws that provide a range of additional protections to pregnant or breastfeeding workers.
Important Point To Note
One important thing to note about pregnancy discrimination laws is that they work to be fair. They are not to punish the employer or make things difficult. Lawmakers realize that a pregnant employee may sometimes cause hardship for an employer. This is why many laws have a hardship exemption where an employer does not have to do something if it would not be reasonable.
Seek Help From a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
When you have a pregnancy discrimination case, you will need to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission or a state or local Fair Employment Practices Agency. You will not go immediately to court. However, you will still need the assistance of a pregnancy discrimination lawyer, who can help guide you through the filing process and ensure your claim is solid.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer
It is important to have a legal professional on your side as you fight pregnancy discrimination. Submit a request online or call us today at 866-345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!