Pregnant While Working? Here’s What You Need to Know
Answers to the most common questions about pregnancy and work
Many women report that their work life changes dramatically once they announce
that they’re pregnant. Professional opportunities may suddenly disappear,
or they may be given the cold shoulder by management. Some women even
find themselves forced off the job or fired.
While there are plenty of employers who treat pregnant women in accordance
with the law, unfortunately, there are plenty who don’t as well.
Today, let’s discuss some of the most commonly asked questions women
have about pregnancy and work.
What is considered pregnancy discrimination?
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), it’s unlawful for companies
to discriminate against employees on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth,
or related medical conditions.
Discrimination may pertain to:
- Fringe benefits
- Job assignments, or
- Anything that negatively impacts the terms and conditions of your employment
due to pregnancy
Can my pregnancy be considered a disability?
While pregnancy itself is not considered a disability under federal law,
some conditions related to pregnancy may be considered temporary disabilities
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For example, gestational
diabetes may be a disability in some cases.
If you qualify for ADA coverage while pregnant, you may be legally entitled
to job accommodations that would allow you to continue working. However,
it’s important to note that accommodations may also be subject to
your employer’s existing policies on temporary disabilities.
Can my employer force me to take leave because I’m pregnant?
No, employers cannot force you to take leave simply because you’re
pregnant—even if they claim that they’re acting in your best interest.
Federal law states that pregnant workers must be allowed to continue work
as long as they are able.
In addition, if you must take leave for a pregnancy-related condition,
you cannot be forced to stay on leave if you recover.
Can my employer make me bring in a doctor’s note?
The PDA states that companies may not require pregnant women, or women
suspected of being pregnant, to provide medical documentation that wouldn’t
normally be required of other similarly-situated employees.
That means that employers cannot demand that you bring in a doctor’s
note to prove that it’s safe for you to work while pregnant.
However, you may be legally required to supply documentation in some circumstances.
For example, if a company would normally require staffers to submit medical
documentation before taking sick leave, then pregnant women would have
to adhere to that rule as well.
Contact Us For A Consultation Now
If you believe that your rights on the job have been violated because of
pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, it’s a good idea to
speak to an experienced employment law attorney.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.