The Noble Law helps clients in both North Carolina and South Carolina navigate issues of workplace discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination. You have the right to be treated fairly at work, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy. If you have been discriminated against because you are pregnant or because of conditions related to pregnancy, our employment law firm can help. Contact The Noble Law in North Carolina or South Carolina to schedule a consultation with an employment law attorney.
What is Considered Pregnancy Discrimination?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or conditions related to pregnancy. Since its passage in 1978, more women have been able to continue working while pregnant as well as receive temporary accommodations during their pregnancy.
Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms. It can include an employer’s refusal to grant temporary accommodation, such as not lifting heavy boxes or working with toxic chemicals. Race, ethnicity, and economic status can also influence how mothers and pregnant women are treated by employers. Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can show its ugly face in different forms:
- Being sidelined from important projects
- Excluded from key travel events
- Delays in promotions or raises
- Condescending attitudes or invasion or personal space
- Unwanted reduced hours or responsibilities
- Reassignment of position or even termination
If you are pregnant and concerned about potential pregnancy discrimination, we would suggest meeting with one of our employment attorneys to discuss a strategy that makes sense for you and your career goals. An attorney from our employment law firm can advise you how and when to disclose your pregnancy, suggest the most appropriate protocols for reporting discrimination in the workplace, as well as explain the legal options that you have should the situation become adversarial.
Pregnancy, FMLA, FLSA
Along with the PDA, pregnant workers may also have additional rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For example, nursing mothers may have the right to express breast milk in the workplace under the FLSA. This includes break time for expressing milk. You also have the ability to use FMLA leave during pregnancy, and a mother can use 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the birth of a child, for prenatal care, and for serious health conditions relating to pregnancy or birth.
If you are unable to perform your job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, your employer must treat you the same way they would treat any other temporarily disabled employee. That includes accommodations such as light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave. If you need to take leave because of a temporary disability, your employer cannot fire you.
Pregnancy Discrimination & Health Insurance
If your employer provides health insurance, it must cover expenses related to pregnancy in the same way that it does other medical conditions.
Pregnancy-related health expenses should be paid for in the same manner as any other health condition, and a larger deductible cannot be imposed for pregnancy-related health expenses.
Pregnancy Discrimination Regarding Reasonable Accommodations
South Carolina and North Carolina have laws requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees to help them stay safe, healthy, and comfortable on the job. In addition to state laws, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) bars workplace discrimination based on pregnancy and requires that employers treat expecting workers the same as any other who is getting accommodations for health-related causes.
Whether it’s assistance with physically demanding tasks or getting more frequent breaks, these minor adjustments are designed to allow pregnant employees to continue their duties without jeopardizing their own welfare or that of their baby.
Family Medical Leave Act Lawyer for Pregnancy Discrimination
Employers sometimes treat pregnant women unfairly based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) aims to prevent this, and it can offer a remedy when the worker’s rights are violated.
The FMLA guarantees a worker’s right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to their own medical needs or those of certain family members. If you were not afforded the same leave-of-absence rights as other employees due to issues related to your pregnancy, a workplace discrimination lawyer at The Noble Law can help determine whether there was a violation of the FMLA.
Pregnancy Discrimination Regarding Maternity Leave
Although presenting many challenges and worries, pregnancy can be a time of unmatched excitement for the future as a woman prepares to bring a new life into the world. Unfortunately, not all employers share in that feeling of hope and instead use the condition against employees. A series of local, state, and federal laws provide protections for women facing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace; if you believe you have been treated unfairly because of pregnancy, it is a good idea to speak with an employment discrimination lawyer.
Pregnancy discrimination is unequal treatment by an employer due to an employee’s current pregnancy, or even because of a pregnancy loss. When an employer makes a decision based on an employee’s pregnancy status rather than her qualifications, it may violate the law.
The Noble Law – Employment Attorneys
You have the right to a safe workplace free of discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination. If you are being discriminated against or harassed in your workplace, an employment attorney at The Noble Law may be able to help. We provide clients with legal counsel and representation in North Carolina and South Carolina. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced employment law attorneys.