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Pregnancy Discrimination and Types of Related Leaves

Pregnancy Discrimination and Types of Related Leaves Pregnant employees cannot be discriminated against for being pregnant. If you got pregnant, you need to understand how you are legally protected from pregnancy discrimination by your employer. Employers cannot deny employment or terminate the employee for the simple fact they are pregnant. If a pregnant woman asks for a promotion, she cannot be denied the promotion based on the assumption that she will not perform her job because she is pregnant. The supervisor cannot assign her a less desirable job based on a “temporary position” during the employee’s pregnancy. The employer cannot reduce pay due to the employee’s need for accommodations during pregnancy.

If a pregnant employee informs the employer of her pregnancy and gets terminated with no previous warnings or issues, this can be a sign of pregnancy discrimination. Even though the employee does not get terminated but if the employee is being pressured to do more work in less time, her tasks have changed or she is denied the time to go to her doctor, this may also count as pregnancy discrimination. The employer should not terminate a pregnant employee if she is on pregnancy leave.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

This leave is related to an employee who has a disability due to her pregnancy or after the birth of her child. For this leave, the employee can receive up to 3 months of pregnancy leave while the employee is still disabled. If in her doctor’s opinion the pregnant employee is unable to perform the essential functions of her job due to her pregnancy, she is considered legally disabled. If the pregnant employee suffers from severe morning sickness, the need for bed rest, gestational diabetes, postpartum depression, or pregnancy-induced hypertension to name a few she can likewise be considered for pregnancy disability.

FMLA Leave During Pregnancy

Family Medical Leave Act provides pregnant employees with maternity leave for up to 12-weeks of paid leave for pregnancy-related health issues and giving birth including bonding time after the birth of the child. This option is only available to eligible employees who have worked for the employer with minimum of 50 employees, at least 12 months from the date the FMLA leave is to start, and the employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours for that employer. Both parents who are employed by the same covered employer may take FMLA leave for the birth of their child. Although this leave is 12 weeks, if both parents decide to take the FMLA, it is important to understand each parent will be entitled to only 6 weeks of FMLA each totaling 12 weeks for both. Each uses a portion of the FMLA leave. The mother who is expecting is entitled to the FMLA leave for bonding with a newborn, for prenatal care, or for a serious health condition after her child is born.

Reasonable Accommodation Leave

Although the pregnant employee has exhausted the other types of leaves, employers are required to accommodate their pregnant employees for any qualifying disabilities related to the pregnancy. This may include giving the employee more time off work among other things.

Accommodations for Pregnant Women in the Workplace

If a pregnant woman is required accommodations by her doctor or she feels accommodations are needed, the employer is required to accommodate her. Some of the most common accommodations include physical changes such as not lifting more than a specified weight, additional restroom breaks, days off for doctor’s appointments, limited overtime, and flexible use of leave. These accommodations vary depending on the pregnant woman’s need to be accommodated.

Accommodations for Nursing Mothers

Once the employee returns from the pregnancy leave and should the need arise, she can request time to pump breast milk during her workday. Employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of time for employees to express breast milk along with a private location other than the restroom. The room provided must be safe and clean, it must contain a surface where the employee can place the breast pump and other personal items; it must have a chair or a place to sit on. The employer must also provide the lactating employee with access to water and a refrigerator where the employee can store her breast milk.

If you feel you have been discriminated against for being pregnant, we encouraged you to seek legal action or at a minimum know your rights. You are not alone and attorneys at Serendib Law have experience in handling pregnancy discrimination cases. We have represented clients in the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Contact us at 1-800-LAW-8825 (800-529-8825).

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