Pregnancy Discrimination is illegal. Pregnant women have historically experienced significant discrimination in the workplace. As a response, on the federal level Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in 1978. This act protects pregnant employees from discrimination in the workplace. Under this law, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth constitutes unlawful sex discrimination. Therefore, employers may not discriminate against employees on the basis of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
However, the State of New Jersey has some of the strongest laws in the country to protect pregnant women from discrimination! For example, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protects pregnant employees from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Under this law, employers must also prevent pregnancy discrimination and provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodations. Although the federal law provides protection to all workers employed by companies with over 15 employees, the NJLAD applies to all employers within the state of New Jersey. The New Jersey Law provides even more protection for the state’s pregnant employees.
Pregnancy discrimination includes:
- Firing a pregnant employee or not hiring a pregnant applicant;
- Harassing a pregnant employee;
- Not providing reasonable accommodations;
- Forcing an employee to take time off due to their pregnancy;
- Changing an employee’s role/responsibilities on their behalf because of pregnancy status;
- Rejecting pregnancy-related Medical Leave; and
- Retaliating against an employee who claims pregnancy discrimination
It is illegal to discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace. This includes any aspect of employment. An employer may not fire or demote a woman because she is pregnant. However, the NJLAD covers more than just hiring and firing. This also prevents employers from denying pregnant women a right to promotions, trainings, assignments, and benefits.