Retaliation Against Pregnant Employees
If your employer treats you differently after informing them of your pregnancy, you may have legal recourse against them under existing or upcoming pregnancy discrimination laws. Limited protection for pregnant employees exists under the current FMLA, PDA, and ADA laws. Protection from retaliation against pregnant employees will expand under upcoming laws.
About the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) goes into effect June 27, 2023. It addresses many of the gaps in protections that other laws allow. Previous laws only required employers to accommodate pregnant employees with pregnancy-related disabilities as far as they would other employees with similar disabilities.
Under the PWFA, pregnant workers must receive reasonable accommodations unless it would be an undue hardship for the employer to provide. Accommodations could include more frequent breaks, allowing a pregnant worker a chair or stool to perform their work, and a temporary transfer to another position with fewer physical demands.
The PWFA also requires accommodations for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including bedrest, lactation, postpartum depression, and prenatal, neonatal, and postnatal doctor appointments. The new law protects workers against retaliation from employers for the worker requesting or denying accommodations.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Americans with Disabilities Act
Until the PWFA takes effect, pregnant workers still have some limited protections under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Families and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These laws offer limited protection from retaliation against pregnant employees.
Under the PDA, employers must accommodate pregnant employees to a similar degree as other employees with disabilities and similar limitations, and prohibits discrimination against pregnant workers. The FMLA protects pregnant workers’ and their partners’ right to 12 weeks of unpaid family medical leave to recover and care for a newborn child.
While pregnancy is not a disability, some pregnancy-related conditions can impair an employee's ability to perform all the functions of their job the same as before they became pregnant. The ADA protects pregnant and recently pregnant employees, as well as pregnant prospective employees, from discrimination.
What If My Employer Doesn’t Accommodate My Pregnancy or Retaliates Against Me?
The law requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. However, an employer cannot force a pregnant employee to accept an accommodation that the employee does not need or want. This can include job transfers or forcing the employee to take leave.
An employer also may not retaliate against an employee for requesting specific accommodations. For example, if you request a temporary transfer to a less demanding position, your employer can’t fill your regular job and not offer you a similar job with equivalent pay and benefits upon your return to regular duty.
If you believe your employer has discriminated against you during a pregnancy, contact an experienced labor law attorney immediately.
Contact an Employee Rights Attorney for Pregnancy Discrimination in Florida or Georgia
If you have questions about retaliation against pregnant employees in Florida or Georgia, contact us at The Leach Firm, P.A.. We can help you determine if you experienced discrimination under existing employee rights policies. Call us at (844) 722-7567 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.