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What Are Pregnant Women's Rights on the Job?

What Are Pregnant Women’s Rights on the Job?

Examining the patchwork of laws that protect women

Even though women comprise about 47% of the U.S. workforce, issues surrounding pregnant women’s rights on the job can be confusing.

For example, some women may wonder if their pregnancies qualify them to receive job accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities (ADA).

Others may question whether it’s lawful for their employer to force them to take leave until they’re no longer pregnant.

Let’s take a look at the laws that cover pregnancy and discuss how they may apply to you.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is the main law that protects pregnant women. It is intended to protect women from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. That includes:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promotions
  • Raises
  • Layoffs
  • Training
  • Fringe benefits
  • Job assignments

The PDA also 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 is, women may not be forced to prove that they’re medically fit to continue working.

However, some companies may require documentation before approving any worker for medical leave. In those cases, a pregnant woman may be expected to provide a doctor’s certification.

As long as pregnant women can perform the essential tasks of their positions, they generally may not be forced to take leave. If a woman has to take off due to a pregnancy-related condition and recovers, her employer may not force her to remain on leave.

The American with Disabilities Act

While pregnancy itself is not considered a disability under federal law, changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have made it easier for temporary conditions to qualify for ADA protection.

That means that some pregnant women may be entitled to job accommodations that may help allow them to continue to work while pregnant.

However, it’s important to know that any issues involving disabilities are determined on a case-by-case basis under the law. Every woman’s circumstance is different, and requires careful consideration of all the factors involved.

In addition to that, accommodations for temporary disabilities may be dependent on the employers’ policies for accommodating temporary disabilities other than pregnancy.

Contact us for a consultation now

If you feel that you’ve been subjected to unlawful pregnancy discrimination, it’s wise to speak to an attorney to find out more about your rights under the law.

Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.