Best Ohio Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney Answer: Is being pregnant a disability under Ohio law? Does my employer have to follow the same requirements under the ADA for a pregnant employee? Can I ask for an accommodation because of my pregnancy?
At The Spitz Law Firm, LLC, our employment lawyers understand that navigating the situation of pregnancy in the workplace can sometimes be difficult. Our employment discrimination attorneys have successfully handled case after case of employees being discriminated against on the basis of their pregnancy. (See Lawyer: Can I Be Sent Home From Work Because I’m Pregnant?; Pregnancy Discrimination: Still Happening, Still Unlawful; How Much Is My Pregnancy Discrimination Case Worth?; Can I Sue If I Was Fired For Being Pregnant?; and Employment Law: I’m Pregnant. What Are My Rights At Work?).
Often times, the boss, manager, or supervisor will find a way to get rid of pregnant employees because of the anticipated time that an employer assumes the employee will miss as a result of the pregnancy and birth. This is wrongful termination. While laws at the state and federal level are already in place to protect pregnant employees, more can and should be done. Luckily, pregnant employees may have more help on the way.
First, Ohio pregnant women are protected under the law from their employer demoting, terminating or taking other action against them on the basis of their pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (“PDA“), which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Ohio Fair Employment Practice Law (Ohio R.C. § 4112.01et seq.) make discriminating against pregnant women an unlawful form of gender discrimination. Pregnant workers are also offered protection by taking twelve weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
However, not all pregnant employees can take advantage of the protections the FMLA offers. The FMLA is a federal law that allows certain employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs during a 12 month period. To be eligible, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least the 12 months that preceded the leave, and, the employee must have worked at least 1250 hours during that time. Also, the employer must employ at least 50 people within a 75 mile radius.
But an important questions remains as to whether or not a pregnancy itself is to be considered a disability, and thus, afford the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA“). Currently, a pregnancy itself is not considered a disability and employers are not necessarily required to go through the usual interactive process with the pregnant employee to determine what accommodations would be reasonable. Of course, complications related to a pregnancy could make a pregnant employee considered disabled under the law, but simply being pregnant is not itself a disability. But all of that may change in the very near future.
Earlier this month, the Ohio Senate introduced S.B. 301, otherwise known as the Pregnancy Reasonable Accommodation Act. S.B. 301 offers additional protection for pregnant employees that would operate to classify pregnant employees as disabled. If S.B. 301 passes, employers would be required under law, just as with the ADA, to provide reasonable accommodation to employees that are pregnant. This includes requiring the employer to take part in an interactive process to determine if the requested pregnancy accommodation is reasonable. In fact, S.B. 301 itself lists specific accommodations that should be considered, including:
more frequent or longer breaks; acquisition or modification of equipment, seating, or uniforms; assistance with manual labor; light duty; modified employment schedules; job restructuring; temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position; break time and a private, nonbathroom space to express breast milk; and time off to recover from childbirth.
If passed, and the bill enjoys bipartisan support, S.B. 301 vastly improves the protections afforded to pregnant employees in Ohio. It would combat the sadly rampant discrimination that pregnant employees face. However, even thought S.B. 301 is not the law of the land quite yet, if you are having any issues with your employer not granting requested accommodation for your pregnancy or otherwise discriminating against you, it is imperative you contact an experienced employment attorney. It could mean the difference between you keeping your job before and after the birth of your child.
If you are facing discrimination or harassment simply because you are pregnant, protect your legal rights — call the right attorney. Under federal and Ohio employment laws, employers cannot harass, fire, wrongfully terminate, discriminate against, demote, or wrongfully discipline a female employee just because she got pregnant. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation at 866-797-6040, you will meet with an attorney from The Spitz Law Firm to discuss wrongful discrimination claims and help you determine the best way to pursue your gender/sex discrimination claims. Our pregnancy discrimination lawyers know your rights and will fight to protect them.
The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “What should I do …”, “I’m being discriminated against …”, or “How do I …”, your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to pregnancy discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.