As a pregnant woman, you have plenty of joys and concerns in your life without worrying about your job. Pregnant workers have special rights designed just for them under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) and under the Ohio Fair Employment Practice Law. The law prohibits discrimination against pregnant women, as well as retaliation for making a complaint. These laws apply to any employer with at least 15 employees. Here are a few rights you have under the law as a pregnant worker:
While You Are Pregnant
Your employer cannot change your working hours, shifts or duties just because you are pregnant. The law also prohibits any hiring discrimination, denial of benefits or promotions, harassment or termination based on pregnancy.
If You Have A Pregnancy-Related Condition
Pregnancy is a unique condition because it is not an illness, per se, but does sometimes lead to a temporary illness, such as high blood pressure, that requires medical treatment. The key here is that your employer must treat you the same way they would treat any employee with a medical condition. If they can accommodate your situation, they should do so. If they offer short-term disability to other employees, they must offer it to you, as well.
After The Birth
If you have been working for your employer for one year, you are eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This includes 12 weeks of unpaid leave. If your employer offers a paid leave benefit, they must allow you to use that instead.
While You Are Breastfeeding
If your employer has 50 or more employees, they must allow you an unpaid break to pump or express breast milk. They must also provide you with a private space to do this that is not a bathroom.
You have the right to fair and equal treatment under the law. You may find it difficult to tell whether your employer’s actions are based on your pregnancy. They may claim some other reason for their decision.
You can consult with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or a legal professional experienced with discrimination law for more information about how to determine if you have a claim. Giving birth should be an exciting and joyful time in your life. Don’t let your employer turn it into an excuse for discrimination.