Pregnancy discrimination arises when an employer treats a woman applicant or employee unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) and the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), employers cannot discriminate against pregnant women.
Protections Against Pregnancy Discrimination
Employers cannot discriminate based on pregnancy when making employment decisions. These decisions include: hiring, pay, firing, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, leave, health insurance, or other conditions of employment.
Additionally, employers cannot use pregnancy discrimination to treat a pregnant woman differently from other employees if she is unable to perform her job. If pregnant employees are temporarily unable to perform a job due to pregnancy, employers must treat them the same as temporarily disabled employees. Therefore, employers must offer light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees. However, employers must offer these options to pregnant women only if employers provide this to temporarily disabled employees.
Pregnant employees can also qualify for disabilities under the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Impairments from pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia can entitle the pregnant woman to reasonable accommodations from employers. An employer will have to offer reasonable accommodations, such as leave or modifications, that are not an undue hardship.
Additionally, pregnant women are protected from pregnancy discrimination in the form of harassment. Employers, supervisors, clients, and customers cannot harass pregnant women on the basis of pregnancy or medical conditions related to pregnancy.
Leave for Pregnancy
Under the PDA, employers must permit pregnant women to take disability leave or leave without pay. This is the case if employers permit other temporarily disabled individuals to take the leave. However, employers cannot use pregnancy discrimination to require extra conditions from pregnant employees. Therefore, employers can only require doctors’ notes concerning their ability to work if employers require it for all employees.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables a new parent to be eligible for 12 weeks of leave to care for their child. The FMLA offers additional opportunities for leave depending on the condition of the pregnant woman. This opportunity also prevents employers from pregnancy discrimination.
Contact an Employment Lawyer About Tipped Pregnancy Discrimination
If you think you are being discriminated against for your pregnancy, an employment lawyer can help you. Contact McOmber McOmber & Luber to discuss your case.