Being a mother and a working woman at the same time is not always the easiest situation. Though most women can work without much change during pregnancy, some face complications that leave them unable to perform their usual tasks.
Working While Pregnant
Under federal law, employers are legally obligated to treat pregnant women in the same manner that they would treat any employee with a temporary disability. This does not require that they receive preferential treatment; it means that for pregnant women who are still able to work, their employer can temporarily assign more accessible and modifiable tasks.
However, some women may require short-term disability leave. They will be compensated according to state and corporate disability policies, and their employer is obligated to allow them to use any sick time or vacation time accumulated.
Pregnancy discrimination occurs when a female employee or applicant is discriminated against by her employer on account of her pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which was added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is intended to protect pregnant women in much the same way that race, gender, age, and religion are protected under U.S. employment law.
This means that employers cannot make decisions regarding hiring, firing, or promotion on the basis of pregnancy. Unfortunately, any workplace discrimination can be difficult to prove without the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney. Employers have wide discretion regarding these decisions and may try to claim another reason.
Parental Leave and Accompanying Policy
Maternity policies also depend upon your state and corporate policies. However, regardless of where in the U.S. a pregnant woman lives, she is still covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If your office has at least 50 employees at your location, and you have worked for at least 12 months consecutively (totaling 1250 hours), you are guaranteed a minimum of 12 weeks off work for maternity leave.
The lack of any guarantee of compensation for this time off can make the process a bit more difficult. However, under the FMLA, you cannot be fired or otherwise discriminated against for taking leave.
If you win a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, your employer is required to provide one of a couple of options.
The first option is reinstatement. This means that you can ask the court to order your employer to give you back your job. However, this is an uncommon remedy, as it would displace any of your replacements, and would entail you working with individuals with whom you likely have hostility.
More commonly, employees can receive monetary damages as compensation. Dependent upon the facts of your case, your damages may include:
- Back pay, lost benefits, and out-of-pocket losses
- Front pay, should reinstatement not be an option
- Court costs
- Attorneys’ fees
- Punitive damages, intended to punish your employer for breaking the law
Pittsburgh Employment Lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. Help Pregnant Women Experiencing Employment Discrimination
If you or a loved one has experienced employment discrimination due to pregnancy, it is important to contact a knowledgeable and experienced Pittsburgh employment lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. For a free consultation, contact us online or call 412-765-1888 or 800-243-6095 today. From our offices in Pittsburgh, we proudly serve clients in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, Washington County, and throughout Western Pennsylvania.