We Hold Employers Accountable for Pregnancy Discrimination
From 2010-2015 over 31,000 charges of pregnancy discrimination were filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state-level fair employment practice agencies. Some common examples of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace include:
- Refusing to hire you because you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant
- Failing to provide you access to a safe, secure, and private place to pump breast milk
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodations such as “light duty”
- Terminating your job because you are pregnant
If you believe an employer has made unfavorable decisions concerning your employment because of your pregnancy status, or else failed to provide you with a reasonable accommodation to care for a pregnancy-related medical condition, we welcome you to contact our firm to discuss whether you may have been subject to unlawful pregnancy discrimination.
Protections Against Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
Employers often fail to recognize the numerous ways their conduct (including inaction) may constitute unlawful pregnancy discrimination under federal, state, or local law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act), the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination offer protections against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
Right to Protected Leave
Under the Family Medical Leave Act certain pregnant employees may qualify for up to twelve (12) weeks of maternity leave. The New Jersey Family Leave Act may also offer up to twenty four (24) weeks of protected leave under certain circumstances.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers are required to provide reasonable pregnancy-related accommodations. Employers must treat these requests in the same fashion as it would treat an accommodation request by any non-pregnant individual. For example, an employer:
- Cannot without good cause deny a pregnant employee’s request to take extra bathroom breaks during the day while allowing a non-pregnant employee to do so; or
- Cannot without good cause accommodate a light-duty work restriction (such as no lifting or excessive standing) for an employee injured on the job while refusing to accommodate the same restriction for a pregnant employee.
Additionally, certain serious health impairments resulting from pregnancy (such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia) may qualify as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, providing the employee with the additional protections available under that statute.
Pregnancy Cannot Be a Factor in Hiring
Under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHR), pregnancy can not be a factor in the hiring process. Any employment practice or policy that excludes pregnant applicants is a violation of the PHR.
Employers Cannot Deny Break Time for Nursing Mothers
The Affordable Care Act protects the rights of nursing mothers returning to work. Employers must:
- Allow new mothers to take breaks to express breast milk.
- Provide a private location for a woman to express breastmilk, which is available every time the woman needs to use it. The location cannot be a restroom.
Additional Accommodations Under Philadelphia Law
The Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance (PFPO) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations in the workplace related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” Accommodations specifically identified in the PFPO include:
- Restroom breaks
- Periodic rest periods for employees whose jobs involve prolonged periods of standing
- Assistance with manual labor
- Disability leave after childbirth
- Reassignment to an open position
- Job restructuring
Perhaps most importantly, the PFPO doesn’t require a doctor’s note, the law states that a woman must simply request an accommodation due to pregnancy.
We Represent Employees Who Are Victims of Pregnancy Discrimination
At Murphy Law Group, we are dedicated to helping new and expectant mothers fight against discrimination in the workplace. If you feel that you’ve been subjected to unlawful treatment because of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, contact us to discuss your situation.
Murphy Law Group represents residents of Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, including residents of Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Berks, Lancaster, Northampton, Lehigh, Lackawanna, and Luzerne Counties, residents located in central and western Pennsylvania, as well as individuals residing in New Jersey, who have potential claims for pregnancy discrimination. Murphy Law Group is dedicated to protecting the rights of Pennsylvania and New Jersey workers.