Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney
Pregnancy is a natural, normal part of life. Yet, far too many women encounter discrimination at work due to pregnancy. It is increasingly common for women to work throughout their pregnancies up until their due date. Some women face pressure to continue working at their pre-pregnancy pace. This is in spite of medical advice to perform less strenuous activities or stay at home. However, these women are entitled to reasonable accommodations.
Women have historically faced discrimination due to pregnancy. In light of this, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in 1978 to address the issue on a federal level. The PDA amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This legislation dictates employers must not discriminate against employees or prospective employees due to pregnancy or childbirth.
Certified employment law specialist David Langenfeld believes that a woman’s happiness about her future child should not be clouded by the fear of losing her job. He works tirelessly to defend pregnant women in the workplace.
What is pregnancy discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination is a type of workplace discrimination that occurs when pregnant women are not hired, fired, or otherwise discriminated against because they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Some forms of pregnancy discrimination include:
- Not being hired due to:
- Likelihood of becoming pregnant
- Visible pregnancy
- Not receiving:
- Reasonable accommodations
- A raise they would otherwise receive
- Fringe benefits
- Consideration for promotion
- Referrals or recommendations
- Necessary training
- Being fired or laid off after:
- Informing an employer of one’s pregnancy
- Returning from maternity leave
An employer might believe their actions and decisions are in their employee’s best interest. Regardless, they may not refuse to hire, demote, terminate, or retaliate against any individual due to pregnancy.
It is illegal for coworkers, employers, clients, and customers to harass a female employee because of their pregnancy, childbirth, or any related medical condition. Simple teasing does not constitute harassment. However, periodic offensive and/or derogatory comments do. This creates a hostile work environment.
If an interviewer asks a female applicant or employee, but not a male applicant or employee about possible child care responsibilities, this is also a form of sex discrimination.
Lastly, employers must provide pregnant workers with the comparable reasonable accommodation they would provide to an employee with a similar inability or ability to work.
Can my employer give someone else my job while I take FMLA to give birth?
Employers must hold a pregnant employee’s position available for the same length of time as they would for any employee who is on leave due to a medical condition or temporary disability. According to the FMLA, employers must hold a job for the returning employee for 12 weeks.
What is a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy?
If a pregnant employee’s doctor advises her to ask for a less strenuous position, the employer must accommodate this request. As long as it does not “unduly burden” the employer, he or she must meet the request. Some examples of reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers include:
- Allowing the employee to work from home
- Temporarily reassigning them to other tasks
- Allowing the employee to sit during their shift
- Reducing or eliminating heavy lifting
If an employer usually accommodates employees who are “similar in ability or inability to work,” they must provide the same accommodations to pregnant employees. Similarly, employers that allow temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave, or unpaid leave, must allow the same for pregnant employees.
According to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), new parents (including adoptive parents) who have worked at their company for 12 months or more are eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave. This applies to foster parents as well. The company must have at least 15 employees for this to apply. Whether the leave is paid or unpaid depends on the employment contract.
Under the FMLA, pregnant employees receive a maximum of 12 weeks of leave for time off needed before, during, and after the birth of the child. Adoptive parents receive the same rights.
Undue burden measures the amount of trouble, including monetary expenditures, loss of business, and supervision requirements it takes for an employer to effectuate a given accommodation. For instance, it usually is not unduly burdensome for an employer to modify a woman's job duties or change her assignment to accommodate her pregnancy.
Are employees protected from discrimination for past pregnancies?
Yes. Both applicants and employees cannot face discrimination because of past pregnancy or related medical conditions. Employees cannot be fired after returning to work due to a pregnancy-related need.
Are medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth covered?
Employers cannot discriminate against employees who suffer medical conditions during pregnancy or after childbirth. Some of these conditions include:
- Gestational diabetes
- Back pain
- Lactation issues
- Conditions that require bed rest
Do I need a pregnancy discrimination attorney?
Pregnancy discrimination cases are complicated and sometimes difficult to prove -- that does not mean you should give up. Remember: you deserve a workplace free from discrimination. You need to find an attorney you can trust to advocate for you. In order to build a strong case, an attorney needs to complete extensive research, consult with appropriate experts, and file all relevant paperwork correctly and on time. An experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney will also provide representation on your behalf during necessary court procedures or settlement meetings. Most importantly, they can help you obtain compensation for losses resulting from your employer’s discriminatory actions. Employment Law expert David Langenfeld has dedicated his entire career to advocating for workers’ rights in Texas. Call the Leichter Law Firm offices at 512.495.9995 or fill out their online form to request a free case evaluation.