Under national law, if you're pregnant, may become pregnant, or have been pregnant - and your company has 15 or more workers - you are protected against pregnancy-based harassment and discrimination. It's also possible to have a legal right to work adjustments, which will let you do your job without endangering your health.
Can I Be Fired for Being Pregnant or Becoming Pregnant in the Future?
Under the law, companies cannot discriminate against you based on the fact that:
- you're pregnant
- you have a medical condition associated with your pregnancy
- you had an abortion or are contemplating having an abortion
Generally, this means that you cannot be given lesser duties, rejected for work or promotion, be fired, or made to take leave for these reasons. A company cannot keep you in work when you'd present a substantial security hazard for others. But they also cannot put you on leave because they consider it a threat to your pregnancy or yourself. Additionally, they cannot remove you from your occupation.
What If I'm Harassed at Work Because of My Pregnancy?
Harassment because of a pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical condition is not allowed under the law. If you are experiencing harassment, follow your company's reporting processes. By law, your company must act when harassment is reported.
What If I Have Difficulty Doing My Job Because of My Pregnancy?
Your employer may be able to accommodate you and provide you with alternative work. However, be aware that the law doesn't require your company to make changes that entail considerable difficulty or expense. Additionally, if more than one accommodation would work, the company can select which one to give you.
What Will Happen if There's No Way That I Can Do My Regular Job, Despite Accommodation?
First, if a healthcare provider is telling you that you are unable to do your work, even if it's light duty, you might want to make sure it's extremely accurate medical advice. Your doctor may not have contemplated accommodations that would enable you to do your routine job. Temporary reassignments and decreased workloads frequently include reduced pay. However, your company cannot reduce your pay due to accommodations for pregnancy.
If you can't do your routine job safely, despite an accommodation, you might be able to change your responsibilities. Determined by how your company handles non-pregnant workers with similar restrictions, your company may be able to reduce your workload, remove an essential function of your occupation, or briefly assign you to a different place if the company does those things for non-pregnant workers with medical restrictions much like yours.
If you can't work and you have no paid leave, you may be eligible for unpaid leave under the FMLA. An attorney can help you understand more about the FMLA and how to obtain benefits.
What Should I Do If I Believe Discrimination Occurred and I'm Denied Rights Due to My Pregnancy?
Contact Sean A. Casey, Esq. for more information about how to handle pregnancy discrimination under the law. Call now for a consultation at (412) 201-9090 or (888) 658-0041.