Pregnancy involves many personal choices. Whether or not you get to keep your job should not be one of them. Thankfully, there are legal parameters in place that protect pregnant women, established by the Supreme Court through the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Each state has interpreted the PDA in their own way, so how it is applied in the fine print may vary from state to state. That is why professional legal council may be necessary.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that clarifies the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. The PDA discusses the rights of employment for pregnant women related to hiring, firing, promotion, pay, and general benefits. The rights of women are protected for their current pregnancy, or even if they intend to become pregnant in the future. They are also protected from any medical conditions that arise related to past or current pregnancy.
The PDA ensures the rights of pregnant women to maintain their employment status, and protects them from essentially being punished in their job or their career as a result of their pregnancy. It is never acceptable for a woman to feel that their job security is threatened because of their pregnancy status.
Can I Get Fired or Reassigned for Being Pregnant?
No. Your employer is not allowed to terminate your work contract or reassign you on the basis of your pregnancy. Even during the progression of your pregnancy, your employer should allow you to continue to work as long as you are able to do so.
Does Being Unmarried and Pregnant Alter My Rights?
No. Your married status has no bearing on your rights as a pregnant woman in the workplace. All the conditions of the PDA apply to you regardless of whether you are married or not.
How Long Does My Employer Have to Hold My Job While I’m On Maternity Leave?
This depends on your employer. Essentially, the time you are given for maternity leave should be equivalent to the length of time that an employer would hold a position for someone who has taken leave for a medical issue or a temporary disability. If you are unsure of what this length of time is, you should consult your HR department for clarification.
I Think I Was Overlooked for Promotion Because of My Pregnancy. What Do I Do?
Being overlooked for a promotion should old be related to the typical factors of merit and seniority within a company. If you believe that you have been overlooked for promotion because of your pregnancy, or you know that you’ve been discriminated against in any of the other aforementioned ways, it may be time to consider taking legal action.
Can I Be Fired If I File a Legal Complaint?
No. It is illegal for you to be fired for filing a legal complaint against your employer under the earnest belief that they have violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. If this has happened to you, you should not hesitate to continue pursuing legal council.
Should I Take Legal Action? How?
Pregnancy comes with many added pressures. You are already juggling all of the questions, preparations, and uncertainties that all revolve around your new baby. You should not have to worry over your job security as well. This is not merely a matter of principal–it is according to the law.
If you are considering taking legal action, then the professional legal team at Aiman-Smith & Marcy is well-equipped to assist you. We can help you understand your rights, hear your story, and clarify your options moving forward.