If you are pregnant woman who has experienced a change at your job because of your pregnancy, legal action may be possible. An employer does not have the right to change a person’s hours or shifts solely because the individual is pregnant.
Similarly, being discriminated against during the hiring process or being passed over for a promotion because you are pregnant is illegal. If you have questions about your rights as an employee who is pregnant, talk to a Columbus employment attorney.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
In 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was signed into law. The law states it is not legal to discriminate against a woman in the workplace because of issues connected to a woman’s pregnancy, childbirth, or connected medical concerns. Because of the law, more women have had the ability to work through their pregnancies. Prior to the law, far too many women were forced out of the workforce. Unfortunately, sometimes discriminatory behavior toward pregnant women is still exhibited.
Evidence of the continuation of pregnancy discrimination is seen in complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Women and their attorneys have fought to fully participate in the workforce, through their pregnancies and once their children are born. Too often, pregnancy discrimination occurs in workplaces that employ low-wage workers. Sometimes, class action suits are possible.
Pregnancy-Related Conditions and Childbirth
There are times when a woman needs extra medical support while pregnant. For example, she might have a medical condition connected to the pregnancy, such as high blood pressure. When this is true, the employer is to treat the pregnant individual as they would any other employee with a similar medical condition. This may include workplace accommodations or short-term disability coverage.
After your child is born, you may have protections under the Family Medical Leave Act, particularly if you have been working for the business for a full calendar year or longer. If you are eligible, you are entitled to 12 weeks leave. In many instances the leave is unpaid, although some employers do include pay when a woman is on leave.
Then, when you return to work, if you choose to breastfeed you are allowed breaks to pump breast milk provided your employer has 50 or more employees. A private place to express the milk should be provided, somewhere that is not a bathroom.
It is common for employers who are discriminating against a pregnant employee to claim their behavior is because of some reason other than the pregnancy. You do have rights. A knowledgeable Columbus employment attorney can look over your documentation and let you know if a claim is possible.
Growing your family should be a time of joy. When an employer discriminates against a pregnant woman, they are robbing that family of some happiness during an exciting time. Stand up for yourself and protect your rights.
Have you experienced pregnancy discrimination? Contact the lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC today. We are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers and use our experience and knowledge to help you. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.