Fighting For Pregnant Employees Across Ohio
There are a lot of wonderful emotions surrounding getting the news that you are pregnant. Being pregnant and having a baby should be one of the most wonderful and joyous times in your life. Unfortunately, following this wonderful news some employers and companies can take this wonderful thing and turn it into a source of discrimination, harassment, and even wrongful termination. If you did not get a promotion, had your hours severely cut, denied benefits, or terminated in part because of your pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, you know the stress that comes with the thought of trying to continue to provide the necessary support for your growing family. Thankfully, there are several federal and Ohio laws that protect employees through all phases of pregnancy through childbirth. The lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm are here to help you best deal with any adverse actions taken by employers against pregnant women and new parents.
Pursuant to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (“PDA”), which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discriminating against pregnant women is an expressly unlawful form of gender discrimination. Additionally, the Ohio Fair Employment Practice Law (Ohio R.C. § 4112.01et seq.) prohibits employers from engaging in any discrimination against a woman based on her pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition or illness. Thus, under these laws, pregnant employees have the right to be treated the same as all other employees or job applicants. Employers with 15 or more employees cannot reject applicants because they are pregnant. At the same time, employers are not permitted to discriminate against pregnant workers by terminating, transferring, laying off, changing job assignments, refusing promotion, or taking any other adverse employment actions.
In addition, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”), which Congress enacted on June 27, 2023, requires covered employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship”. An “undue hardship” is a significant difficulty or expense for the employer. The PWFA applies only to accommodations, but existing laws, like the PDA and the Ohio Fair Employment Practice Law, make it illegal to discriminate against workers on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
In order for the PWFA to apply, the situation complained about in the charge must have happened on June 27, 2023 or after. However, a pregnant worker who was denied a reasonable accommodation prior to June 27, 2023 may still have a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Covered employers under the PWFA include private and public sector employers with at least 15 employees, Congress, Federal agencies, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
It is important to note that the PWFA does not replace federal, state, or local law that are more protective of workers impacted by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Over 30 states and cities already have laws that provide accommodations for pregnant workers.
Protections Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
Once a woman gives birth, she may be entitled to time off, if she qualifies for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Moreover, upon returning to work, employers must provide nursing mothers with a private room with a lock, that is not a bathroom, to pump breast milk. Your boss, manager, and supervisor cannot discriminate or retaliate against you for requesting accommodations to pump milk.
When Should You Suspect Discrimination?
Women are a significant part of the American workforce. Female workers are entitled to be treated equally and fairly, even when they become pregnant and are expecting a child, or after a new child is born. Your supervisor, boss, or manager cannot single you out, harass you, deny you reasonable accommodations, or fire you because you chose to start a family. If you find yourself saying any of the following about pregnancy discrimination at your job or where you work, the best thing for you to do is to call a top employment discrimination lawyer to help you out:
- At a job interview, I was asked if I am pregnant or plan to get pregnant soon.
- I was told at an interview to reapply for a job after I gave birth.
- I was fired after telling my manager that I was pregnant.
- My company told me that I was not eligible for health insurance because my wife is pregnant.
- I was told to pump milk in a bathroom or a storeroom that had no lock. When I complained about it, my job fired me.
- I was given points for going to my doctor for prenatal care even though my coworkers got no points for taking time off to go to their doctors for other reasons.
- I asked not to lift heavy boxes during the later stages of my pregnancy, but my boss said no even though he gave another person light duty after having surgery.
- My job cut my hours after I complained that my manager was not giving the time or proper room to pump breast milk.
- My boss told me that I had to start my medical leave when I reached my eighth month of pregnancy.
- My job told me that as father, I can only use two weeks of FMLA leave to be with my newborn son/daughter.
- My manager took me off serving tables and made me be a hostess when he found out that I was pregnant.
- I was not given a promotion because my boss said I cared more about having kids than working.
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.
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Facing Pregnancy Discrimination At Work? Here’s What You May Be Wondering
Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination occurs far more frequently than people would expect. Companies throughout Ohio and the United States are guilty of minimizing a pregnant woman’s job or cutting her hours. But sometimes, discrimination is not so cut and dried. If you suspect your job is discriminating against you because of a pregnancy, here are a few questions you may have asked yourself: