What Is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The pregnancy discrimination act is giving employees who are pregnant, who have just given birth, or who have a pregnancy related illness to protect them from any discrimination or any employment decisions regarding their hiring, their termination, promotion, compensation, and their benefits. It protects them from losing their job for having to go out on maternity leave. It protects employees from having their benefits changed in any way. Any leave protection that an employer gives to those who are disabled or have temporary disability is to be extended to those who are pregnant or are suffering under a pregnancy related medical illness. It prohibits them from requiring her to stay out until the baby is born. It also prohibits an employer from predetermining a set amount of time that an employee has to be out without allowing them to return to work, and it also prohibits an employer from making any decision based on the person’s status of either being pregnant, having just given birth, or having some sort of pregnancy related illness.

Employment Attorneys Advocating for Workers in New York City

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects employees who are pregnant, who have just given birth, or who suffer from a pregnancy-related illness from discrimination in the workplace. An employer may not discriminate against you due to your pregnancy when hiring, terminating, promoting, compensating, or providing benefits. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to employees of companies that have 15 or more employees. At Phillips & Associates, our experienced New York City pregnancy discrimination lawyers may be able to provide representation for claims arising under the Act. Watch the video on this page to learn more about your rights.

What Is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provides significant protection to covered employees who are able to perform all of the major functions of their jobs. It may allow you to go on maternity leave without losing your job. Employers are not allowed to single out conditions related to pregnancy for medical clearance if that is not required for employees similar in their ability to do the job. For example, if your employer requires other workers to submit a doctor's note before granting leave, it may require you to do the same in connection with a pregnancy-related condition. However, if it does not require a doctor's note before granting leave to other employees, it may not require it for pregnant employees.

Assuming that you are covered, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents your employer from changing your benefits because you are pregnant or you have given birth. It requires an employer to give leave to women who are pregnant or suffer from a pregnancy-related illness, such as gestational diabetes, if the employer provides that protection to people who are disabled in some other way, such as suffering from an illness or complex fracture.

On the other hand, it also prohibits your employer from requiring you to stay out of the workplace until the birth of your baby or predetermining a set amount of time during which you are prevented from doing particular tasks. By law, you must be allowed to work as long as you can perform your job, even if you have taken a leave as a result of a pregnancy-related condition. Your job needs to be held open for the same amount of time that it would be held open for an employee on temporary disability leave for another reason. During the leave, you must be treated just as other temporarily disabled employees are treated for the purposes of accrual of seniority, pay increases, vacation calculation, or benefits. The employer may not make any decision related to an aspect of employment based on your pregnancy or childbirth status, or as a result of a pregnancy-related illness.

You are entitled to have health insurance that your employer provides cover your pregnancy-related expenses on the same basis as expenses for other conditions. You should be aware that under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is not necessary for your insurance coverage arising out of employment to cover abortion expenses, unless your life is endangered or medical complications result from the abortion.

If you are covered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act but subjected to discrimination on the job, you may be able to bring a charge against your employer. You must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within the appropriate time period before filing a lawsuit in court.

Seek Representation From a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in New York City

Pregnancy may or may not alter an employee's ability to perform a job. An employer should not discriminate against an employee based on biases related to pregnancy. If you believe that your rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act have been violated in the workplace, you should consult an attorney. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City lawyers have significant experience advising and representing clients in pregnancy discrimination matters. Contact us online or call us at (866) 229-9441 for an appointment with a discrimination or sexual harassment attorney. We fight workplace misconduct in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan, as well as Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester Counties.

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