Pregnancy Discrimination

Employers have no right to penalize you for being pregnant.
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If you think that your company or employer may be discriminating against you because you are pregnant or for requesting time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), we encourage you to take advantage of our free case consultation. Bracken Lamberton has expertise in handling pregnancy discrimination cases. We can help you protect your rights and receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to under the law.

Women who are pregnant have workplace rights granted to them under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), the FMLA, and other state laws. These laws require that your employer treat pregnant employees exactly as they would any other employee, especially those entitled to accommodations. Under the FMLA, pregnant women are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and their employer cannot fire or retaliate in any way for them doing so.

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Discrimination based on pregnancy occurs when your employer treats you adversely because you are pregnant. Such discrimination can occur when you are an employee or when you are applying for a new job. Examples of pregnancy discrimination include:

  • Your employer terminates your employment because you are pregnant or take FMLA leave
  • Your employer fires you because they learn you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Your employer, because you are pregnant, refuses to give you a raise, promotion, or bonus that you are entitled to receive
  • Your employer decides to demote you because they learn that you are pregnant or that you plan to become pregnant
  • Your employer will not allow you to return to your same position after you return to work from being on maternity leave
  • Your employer harasses you for being pregnant
  • Your employer treats you in differently than they treat other employees because you are pregnant
  • Your employer refuses to make a reasonable accommodation for medical issues connected to your pregnancy
  • A potential employer, during a job interview, asks you if you are currently pregnant or have any intention of becoming pregnant
  • A potential employer will not hire you because you are pregnant or disclose that you have plans of becoming pregnant in the future.

Is Being Pregnant Considered a Disability?

Pregnancy itself is not a disability under any law, but certain medical conditions that may arise while you are pregnant might be considered a temporary disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if you have a disability, even a temporary disability, you are entitled to be reasonable accommodated for your disability. For example, if you develop gestational diabetes while you are pregnant, you may have a temporary condition that could be considered a disability. As such, your employer is legally required to provide you with reasonable accommodations so that you can effectively do your job. In the case of gestational diabetes, your employer may be required to give you more frequent breaks to check your blood sugar or eat. If you request such a medically necessary accommodation and your employer refuses to afford you the accommodation, this may be considered pregnancy discrimination and disability discrimination.

Can I Be Forced to Take Leave If I Am Pregnant?

No, your employer cannot force you to go on leave if you are pregnant. They may claim that doing so is in your best interest but they still cannot force you to take leave. Federal laws clearly state that pregnant employees are allowed to continue working as long as they believe they can do so. Additionally, if you take any leave for conditions that are related to your pregnancy, you cannot be forced to leave or stay after you have recovered.

Can My Employer Require That I Provide Medical Documentation Regarding My Pregnancy?

No, your employer cannot request to see a doctor’s note or medical documentation concerning your pregnancy. The PDA asserts that an employer may not require any pregnant employee or an employee who is thought to be pregnant to submit medical documentation. The only medical documentation that can be required of a pregnant employee is the same documentation that would be required of all employees regardless of pregnancy status. As such, your employer cannot demand that you present a doctor’s note that states it is safe for you to work before returning to work. However, if you request a reasonable accommodation for a condition that is connected to your pregnancy, your employer may request certain medical documentation to support that request.

What Do I Do If I Believe I’m Being Subjected to Pregnancy Discrimination?

If you believe that you are being discriminated against or harassed because you are pregnant, recently gave birth, or because of a medical condition related to your pregnancy, take the following actions to begin protecting yourself and winning back your rights and benefits that you are legally entitled to have.

  1. Keep a log or record of every occurrence of pregnancy discrimination or harassment. Write down the date, time, and place that the incident occurred. Lists names of anyone who witnessed or was involved in the action and include details of what occurred. Such information is vital if you file a complaint or sue your employee for harassment or discrimination.
  2. Talk to your employer or manager to learn about your company’s internal grievance procedure for discrimination or harassment.
  3. Try to find out if any other co-workers have ever experienced any similar harassment or discriminatory actions.
  4. Contact a reputable, experienced and knowledgeable law firm to help you protect your rights and obtain any compensation that you may be entitled to under the law.

Let Us Help You

If you believe that you are experiencing pregnancy discrimination, we invite you to contact our office for a free, no-obligation case consultation. Bracken Lamberton has been helping fight against pregnancy discrimination and other forms of discrimination for years. Our attorneys have ample experience and expert knowledge of all laws that pertain to discrimination and will be sympathetic and compassionate to your case. One of our top priorities is to ensure that your being pregnant is never a source of intolerance or worry at your workplace. We will also fight diligently to protect your rights and obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible.

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