Charlotte Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney
Expecting a baby is a special time for a family. Unfortunately, a pregnancy can result in unfair or inequitable treatment in the workplace. Under federal and state law, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful discrimination. In addition, pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. Employers are also required to hold a pregnant employee’s job open for a certain period of time if she goes out on pregnancy related leave.
Pregnancy discrimination has become such an issue in the workplace that congress enacted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in response to a substantial body of evidence showing that pregnant women were being discriminated against or treated unfairly in the workplace. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, and other benefits, such as leave and health insurance.
If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition relating to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer must treat her in the same way as 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 workers.
In addition, medical impairments resulting from pregnancy may constitute a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In such a case, an employer may have to provide a reasonable accommodation to the pregnant employee.
Finally, under the Family Medical Leave Act, a new parent (including foster and adoptive parents) may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (unpaid or paid if the employee has earned or accrued it) that may be used for the care of a new child. To be eligible, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months prior to taking the leave, and the employer must have a minimum threshold number of employees.
As these various laws illustrate, there are a number of rights available to pregnant employees. But they can be complex and cumbersome to assert, especially while you are pregnant or caring for a new child. If you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, or if you would like to find out more about your pregnancy related rights, we encourage you to contact us.