Were you wrongfully terminated for being pregnant?
What are you rights when you're pregnant in the workplace? Are you right in thinking you were wrongfully terminated for being pregnant?
The majority of pregnant employees never have an issue in the workplace, but in a few cases, employers act illegally and deny pregnant women their workplace rights.
The 3 basic rights pregnant employees are entitled to are:
- Right to Reasonable Accommodation
Under Federal Law, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees if they already provide the those accommodations to other employees with medical restrictions. It's only in certain states that the laws go further. One example is California. In California, an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to all pregnant employees who have medical restrictions, regardless of whether they have policies in place regarding disabilities and medical restrictions. If a pregnant woman has a disability that was due to the pregnancy, they may have protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, a normal pregnancy would not be considered a disability and the place of employment must have 15 or more employees.
- Right to Time Off
If an employer has 50 or more employees, the federal law, Family and Medical Leave Act, requires the employer to give pregnant employees time off of work for complications or health issues due to pregnancy, childbirth, prenatal care, and bonding time with the baby. Pregnant women may be entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Additionally, they may have more protections based on their state laws.
- Right to a Workplace Free from Discrimination
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a federal law protecting pregnant employees who work in a place that has more than 15 employees from discrimination and harassment due to childbirth, pregnancy, or a pregnancy related medical issue.
An employer cannot refuse to hire an applicant because they are pregnant. They cannot terminate an applicant because they are pregnant, about to have a baby, or because they spoke about trying to get pregnant and have a family. If a pregnant employee is wrongfully terminated, they may be able to file a lawsuit.
For more information about pregnant employee rights, send us a message.