One of the most exciting times in a woman’s life is finding out that she is pregnant and bringing a new life into the world. In previous decades, pregnant women tended to leave the workplace (or not be in it, to begin with) during their pregnancy and rarely returned to their job duties following the birth of their child. Today’s world has changed when it comes to women in the workplace.

Pregnant workers are protected by state and federal law, and these laws require that employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant women during pregnancy and after birth. Things such as time off for medical appointments and maternity leave are part of federal and state law, but some employers have still been caught treating pregnant employees differently.

How Are Pregnant Women Discriminated in the Workplace?

When an employer finds out that an employee is pregnant, that individual may have to start planning when the pregnant woman can no longer fulfill her job duties. However, that does not mean the employer can find a replacement or treat pregnant employees differently.

Some of the most common ways that employers have been caught participating in unlawful sex discrimination include:

  • Prohibiting pregnant women from applying for a promotion, if they are eligible
  • Not hiring a pregnant applicant for a job that she is qualified for due to the pregnancy
  • Not providing maternity leave or cutting the leave short
  • Treating pregnant women unequally from other employees
  • Finding a replacement for the employee on maternity leave and not giving the job back

If you or a loved one has experienced these or any other type of discrimination, contact a pregnancy discrimination attorney at J.P. Ward & Associates in Pittsburgh for a free consultation and find out how to prove pregnancy discrimination under federal law. You may be eligible to sue for pregnancy discrimination under Pennsylvania law.

What Is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

Sex discrimination in the workplace is not just limited to gender discrimination. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is also included in this broad legal definition. In 1978, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended to prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy. Known as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, this Act covers discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions and applies to employers who have 15 or more employees.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits covered employers from discriminating against a pregnant employee in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, training, and any other term or condition of employment.

How Are Pregnant Women Protected Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

Employers are required by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to treat pregnant employees the same way they treat any other employee who has a temporary disability. This includes adjusting assignments, providing light duty, and offering disability or unpaid leave if such leave is available to other temporarily disabled employees. Pregnant individuals are also protected from discrimination if temporarily unable to perform some aspects of the job.

Pregnancy-related medical conditions, such as preeclampsia or severe morning sickness, are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under this law, an employer may be required to provide the employee with reasonable accommodation absent undue hardship.

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers are prohibited from singling out employees suffering from pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an individual’s ability to work. However, this does not prevent an employer from requiring a pregnant employee to submit a statement from a doctor’s office detailing the condition in question. Other temporarily disabled employees are required to do the same under the employer’s policies.

Pregnant employees may be eligible for additional leave to take care of their new child under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This family and medical leave may be unpaid or paid if the employee has earned or accrued paid time off. If eligible, the employee may receive up to 12 weeks of leave. Employees are only eligible for this leave under two conditions: the pregnant employee worked for their employer for 12 months before the start date of the leave, and the company is a covered employer.

Employers are also prohibited from harassing a pregnant employee because of that employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Conduct rises to the level of harassment when it is so severe and pervasive that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or an adverse employment decision is made.

How Can Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys Help?

As anyone knows, the birth of a child should be one of the most joyous times in a person’s life. If an employer is discriminating against you for your pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related conditions, that harassment can have a severe impact on your happiness. It is critical that you not allow employers to continue their discriminatory manner with other employees or yourself. Contact a pregnancy discrimination lawyer to discuss your case.

Our attorneys at J.P. Ward & Associates will work diligently to represent your best interests in and out of court with pregnancy discrimination cases. We may be able to help you with the following types of compensation or remedies:

  • Job placement
  • Promotion
  • Back pay and benefits
  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Lawyers’ fees
  • Fees for expert witnesses
  • Court costs

At J.P. Ward & Associates, our pregnancy discrimination lawyers are dedicated to helping pregnant employees fight for equality and justice in the workplace.

Contact Our Pittsburgh Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

If you or someone that you know has been experiencing what could be considered pregnancy discrimination, be sure to explore your legal options. The pregnancy discrimination attorneys at J.P. Ward & Associates are more than happy to help you learn your options and determine the best course of action.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation by filling out this contact form or calling us at (833)-GOT-FIRED.