The United States has a federal law known as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) that was written as an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law establishes the rights of women who have been affected by pregnancy, or any pregnancy-related condition, to equal treatment at work. It specifically addresses discrimination on the basis of childbirth, pregnancy, or any related condition. The prohibited practices include refusing to hire a qualified and able woman as a result of her pregnancy and treating her differently in terms of promotions, layoffs, pay, fringe benefits, training, or other employment related issues. Employers are also not permitted to treat pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions differently when it comes to medical needs, sick leave, or health benefits. They are not permitted to require that employees leave work before they are medically required to (or wish to) as a result of pregnancy, and if they leave work as a result of their pregnancy, a pregnancy-related condition, or to give birth, the employer is not permitted to keep them from returning to work. Any disability related to pregnancy must be treated in the same way that other disabilities are.
In addition to federal law, the state of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination provides protections for pregnant workers, as well as important accommodations. The law did not initially specifically address pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions as protected classes, but it has been strengthened by the establishment of the New Jersey Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act (PWFA), which specifically added pregnancy to the list of categories provided protection by the Law Against Discrimination. Not only did the PWFA make filing complaints for discrimination more straightforward, it also provided those who were facing the complications of high-risk pregnancies with protections, provided time for recovery from childbirth, and even mandated reasonable accommodations for those who are affected by pregnancy-related complications and symptoms such as morning sickness, the need to go to physician’s appointments, or the need to go to the bathroom more frequently, and to provide a comfortable and hygienic location and opportunity for nursing mothers to breastfeed or pump.
Schorr & Associates is an experienced and knowledgeable law firm with a record of successfully representing those who have faced discrimination based on their pregnancies or pregnancy-related issues. For information on how we can help, contact us for a free initial telephone consultation.
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