It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a woman based on pregnancy. State and federal laws protect women against this form of discrimination in all aspects of employment, including interviewing, hiring, firing and promoting. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits any discrimination based on the pregnancy in business practices.
What Are Your Rights As A Pregnant Women And Mother?
If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, the employer may have to provide light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees if it does so for other temporarily disabled employees.
Additionally, impairments resulting from pregnancy (for example, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, a condition characterized by pregnancy-induced hypertension and protein in the urine) may be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An employer may have to provide a reasonable accommodation (such as leave or modifications that enable an employee to perform her job) for a disability related to pregnancy, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense). The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 makes it much easier to show that a medical condition is a covered disability.
After childbirth, a mother has a job-protected leave through the Family Medical Leave Act, which can also be used for fathers. Additionally, under the laws that protect women from discrimination in the workplace, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse an employee which has returned from pregnancy leave her prior position or a position similar to it.
Pregnancy Discrimination Defined
An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy related condition as long as she is able to perform the major functions of her job. An employer cannot refuse to hire her because of its prejudices against pregnant workers or because of the prejudices of co-workers, clients, or customers. The ADA also forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any other aspect of employment, including pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, firing, and any other term or condition of employment.
Elements You Need to Prove Your Claim
The “elements” of a claim are the facts the filing party (the plaintiff) must prove for a successful case. An attorney can help you with the elements of an employment action, gathering evidence and taking the necessary steps to prove your case during arbitration or in front of a judge and jury. There are four main elements you will need for a pregnancy discrimination claim:
- State or federal pregnancy discrimination laws apply to your employer.
- Your employer took negative action against you, such as refusing to hire you or firing you (“Adverse Employment Action”).
- Your pregnancy or related condition was a motivating factor for the employer’s adverse action.
- You suffered harm because of the negative action, such as lost wages or emotional distress.
If you have experienced pregnancy-related discrimination in the workplace, contact an employment attorney at Victory Law Group, LLP.