Are Pregnant Workers Protected Under Federal Law?
The federal law has made a provision that protects pregnant workers, those who want to become pregnant or have been pregnant. Any pregnancy based harassment or any form of discrimination is against federal law and is subject to prosecution. You have the legal right to ask your employer to adjust your working condition that you feel may affect the health of your child. These rights are under PDA (Pregnancy Discrimination Act). There are also other rights that are not covered under PDA, but with other laws like the FMLA (Family And Medical Leave Act), pregnant women are protected under both local and state laws.
What’s Pregnancy Harassment Or Discrimination?
It’s any form of maltreatment from an employer because his employee is pregnant, it also involves denying her legal rights or some other form of discrimination just because of her pregnancy condition, it is a form of sex discrimination. You cannot deny a female employee employment rights, that’s to say you can’t ignore hiring her and you can’t terminate her contract just because she is pregnant. You can’t deny her promotions or any indifference that’s due to her pregnancy.
The law, of course, doesn’t offer them any special rights but they’re fully protected. Pregnant women must be treated equally like other employees irrespective of their condition. Whatever task or benefits you offer to other employees you must also do the same to pregnant women.
Working during pregnancy scares a lot of women and some women will quit their job because they’re afraid of discrimination. While those that remain working are struggling with their rights. PDA protects the rights of pregnant women or any woman who want to become pregnant in the future.
The first thing you want to do as a pregnant woman is to know your rights. And here some things you should know;
* As stated under PDA, your employer cannot discriminate against you in any form, such as promotion, firing, hiring or denying any of your employment benefits. It also prevents an employer from restricting pregnant women to perform certain tasks because of their situation.
* PDA coverage only applies to a workplace with fifteen or more employees.
* Your employer cannot terminate your contract because you reported him for violating your PDA rights
* Employer cannot deny you promotion due to your pregnancy.
* You’re not obligated to tell your employer that you’re pregnant and he also doesn’t have the right to ask you whether you’re pregnant or not or if you plan to be pregnant in the future.
As we can see no employer has the right to harass you because of your pregnancy. If you notice any maltreatment from your employer you should talk to him to see if he can resolve the situation and it’s a must for him to fix what he has done knowingly or unknowingly. If he is still denying you your rights, you can then take legal action against him and you’ll be compensated for your claims.
What To Do If You’re Having Difficulty With The Working Environment
You should report to your employer to give you comfortable accommodation allowing you to perform the given task without any difficulty. If possible, your employer should allow you to work from home; he should provide ergonomic furniture that allows you to sit comfortably. You have the right to demand any tool that ensures your safety and your the safety of your baby.
What If You Can’t Do Your Job Due To Your Health Condition
Your workload can be reduced for your safety and must be paid the same salary because it’s just a temporary situation. If you cannot still handle the current job you’re doing your employer should consider changing a duty for you that is less stressful and is safer for your pregnancy situation. If you can’t contribute anything to the working place you should apply for a leave. If your pregnancy doesn’t favor you to work, you’re qualified for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, this is mandatory from the United States Department Of Labor.
What To Do If An Employer Violated Your Rights
EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), will guide you on the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to claim for your rights. They will also conduct the necessary investigation to find out whether your rights have been violated or not. You should file a complaint within 180 days of discrimination. You’re advised to begin the process as early as possible.
And finally, you have sought for professional advice from a lawyer on how to deal with the situation more especially when there are damages involved between you and your employer because it’s not easy to make a claim alone. If you’re fired unnecessarily your lawyer can help you recover your job easily without any waste of time.