Are You Facing Pregnancy Discrimination at Work? Contact Us Today!
Being pregnant is a blessing to every couple. However, pregnancy may come with a lot of discomforts, complications, and health issues. If you are a working woman, you need to know your rights to avoid getting mistreated without knowing. Now, if you are pregnant and you have 15 or more colleagues, the federal law protects from any form of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. This protection also applies to those who have been pregnant before or possibly can become pregnant.
You can request work adjustments to ensure that you remain healthy even if you are working. These are rights made to protect pregnant women as stipulated under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Other laws that you can rely on include state and local laws, medical insurance laws, and Medical Leave laws. You may need a pregnancy discrimination lawyer in Los Angeles to understand your rights as stipulated by these laws in detail. However, the questions tackled below will also give you a glimpse of what to expect.
What should you expect after your employer knows?
The big question is, can you get fired for being pregnant in California? The answer is no. Your employer is legally prohibited from discriminating you at work if you are pregnant, could be pregnant, was pregnant, intend to be pregnant, had an abortion, plan to get an abortion, or have any sickness due to pregnancy. This means you are protected, and they cannot fire you, reduce your assignments, deny you a promotion, or force you to take leave unless you need it.
Your employer is not allowed to fire you from work simply because they believe that whatever you are doing is risky for you and your pregnancy. However, this employer is also not required to hold you if you cannot do your job, or you pose a huge safety threat to your co-workers and other people in the workplace.
What happens if you are struggling to do your job?
If you are pregnant and cannot deliver at the workplace because of pregnancy or medical issues related to pregnancy, you have a right to request an accommodation from your employer. This will help you to carry out your usual job without posing any risk to your health. Accommodation may come in the form of flexible working schedules and breaks, removal of marginal work functions, approval to sit, stand, or rest, working from home, or providence of ergonomic office furniture. You do not need to resign or, worse, get fired because you are facing some difficulties at work.
Your employers may provide your request for this accommodation under PDA or ADA stipulations if your condition meets the criteria. For instance, if your employer provides accommodation to employees having similar issues under PDA, but not related to pregnancy, then you are also eligible for the same as an employee.
Also, if your pregnancy came with medical conditions such as anemia, cervical insufficiency, depression, preeclampsia, sciatica, or gestational diabetes, meeting the disability definition as per ADA, then you are eligible to be given this accommodation. The qualifying condition here is not a must to be severe or permanent as long as it is substantially limiting you from carrying out major bodily activities.
Now when requesting accommodation, you may consider something specific, but keep in mind that ADA does require your employer to pay for expensive changes to accommodate you at work. Also, if there is more than one option for you, the employer will have to choose the one to provide to you.
What happens when even after the provision of accommodation you cannot deliver your work?
Once you get the accommodation, you are expected to carry on with your regular job, and your employer should not reduce your payments. Now, if your doctor insists that you cannot work safely despite the accommodation, then you can request for altered job functions as per the stipulations of PDA. Again, this will depend on the treatment provided by your employer to other non-pregnant employees who are undergoing similar problems or limitations. If they have been altering for others, then you should get the altered duties as well, whether pregnant or not.
Now, if, in the worst scenario, you are unable to work completely due to your pregnancy, you can use any of your outstanding paid leave. However, if you do not have any paid leave, then you can request for unpaid leave, and it should be provided to you because you are entitled. This leads to the big question; is it legal to fire someone for being pregnant? The answer is no. You are qualified to get some leave days Medical Leave laws in the country. Before you make any hasty decision, always consider going for an opinion of an employment attorney in Los Angeles — they know better.
What should you do once you realize that you need accommodation, leave days, or altered duties due to pregnancy?
The first thing you need to do is inform your HR or any other person you report to at work. It would be best if you were open about your condition, and this includes disclosing that it is related to your pregnancy. One thing that every pregnancy discrimination lawyer will tell you is that your employer is not allowed to fire you. They cannot deny you a job or a promotion either according to the federal laws. You will not even need to pay any cost for the accommodation you need — your employer is responsible.
Therefore, ask for the accommodation or whatever service you need based on your problem. Ensure that you come with an official letter from your health provider stating that you indeed need this accommodation. Your employer will need this documentation and, of course, provide you with what you need — it is your right.
What happens if you are harassed at work, or your rights are denied as a pregnant woman?
ADA and PDA highly prohibit any form of harassment against pregnant women at the workplace. Please report it to your employer by following the reporting procedures stipulated by the company. The employer is supposed to take strict action against the perpetrators and prevent it from ever happening again.
If your employer does not protect you or violates any of your rights as a pregnant woman, you need to rely on laws stipulations. Seek the help of a qualified Los Angeles employment attorney for discrimination in the workplace. They will help you follow up on your rights and ensure that you get the treatment that you deserve. You seek this help if you have a pregnancy-related condition and your employer;
- Fires you
- Demotes you
- Denys you promotion
- Denys accommodation even if you qualify
- Denys you leave, either paid or unpaid
- Terminates your job during your pregnancy leave
In case you get terminated, and your employer says that they are only trying to downsize or any other reason, you can ask a workplace pregnancy discrimination attorney to help you access the evidence. This attorney will help you understand your legal rights at the workplace, whether pregnant or not. Finally, they will fight for you to ensure you get compensated for any loss you may have suffered due to a violation of your rights as a working pregnant woman.