Workplace discrimination comes in a variety of forms. Fortunately, state and federal law protects workers in most workplaces from all acts of discrimination based on protected characteristics. Though the thought of an employer or co-worker discriminating against a woman for becoming pregnant or violating her rights in some way is egregious, it happens more often than you think. If you believe you are a victim of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, you should strongly consider retaining the services of our seasoned Chesterfield County employment discrimination lawyer who can help you fight for the justice you deserve. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What are some potential examples of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace?
Unfortunately, there are several ways in which an employer can discriminate against a pregnant woman. Just some of the most common examples of pregnancy discrimination that we see are as follows:
- Making rude or degrading comments about a woman’s pregnancy (even persistent “jokes” can potentially count as harassment if the woman is made to feel uncomfortable or threatened)
- Refusing to let a woman return to her job after coming back from maternity leave
- Failing to make certain reasonable accommodations for a pregnant woman’s medical needs (e.g. allowing her to attend certain doctor’s appointments, or pump breastmilk)
- Forcing a pregnant woman to take a leave of absence
- Refusing to hire a woman who is pregnant or discouraging a pregnant woman from applying for a certain job
- Denying a pregnant woman certain benefits, higher pay, or demoting a pregnant woman solely due to their pregnancy
Are employers required to offer Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits to pregnant employees?
It depends. In order for a woman to qualify for FMLA benefits during pregnancy or so they can raise a baby shortly after childbirth, she will have to prove the following:
- The company has 50 or more employees who live within a 75-mile radius of the company
- She worked for at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months for the company in question
As long as you can prove as much, you should be allowed to take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave. You should note, however, that though your employer may choose to pay you during this time, they are not legally required to. That said, they are obligated, under the law, to guarantee you either the same position or a substantially similar position upon your return. If 12 weeks pass and your position has been terminated or you’ve been demoted, there is a strong chance you will have a valid FMLA or discrimination claim against your employer. If you believe you have such a claim, please don’t hesitate to contact Passero Employment Law for assistance.