Phillips & Associates

Philadelphia Pregnancy Discrimination

Philadelphia Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Women in the Workplace

About 28% of Philadelphia households have kids under age 18 living there. Around 32% have married couples living together. Federal, state, and local laws forbid Philadelphia workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. That means that your employer is not supposed to treat you adversely because you are pregnant, are about to give birth, or have a medical condition arising out of pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex/gender discrimination. If you believe that you have been affected by this conduct in the workplace, you should consult a Philadelphia pregnancy discrimination lawyer.

Laws Prohibiting Pregnancy Discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance prohibit pregnancy discrimination. There are some important differences among these laws. Generally, Title VII only applies to larger employers, those with at least 15 employees and Damages are capped based on the employer’s size. The PHRA and local laws apply to smaller businesses. The PHRA does not allow you to recover punitive damages, but it does not cap compensatory damages.

Title VII was amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is illegal for covered employers to make adverse employment decisions against workers because they are pregnant, are going through childbirth, or have a related medical problem. The federal law provides that women who are pregnant or have conditions related to pregnancy should be treated just as other employees who have similar limits or abilities are treated. Employers covered by Title VII are not allowed to refuse to hire you because of your pregnancy, a pregnancy-related condition, or due to the prejudices of clients, coworkers, or customers. Title VII also forbids an employer from allowing a hostile work environment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a pregnancy-related condition. A pregnancy discrimination attorney in Philadelphia can help you determine what is the best course of action to pursue your claims.

Identifying Pregnancy Discrimination

Employers cannot single out pregnancy-related conditions to decide whether or not an employee is able to work. On the other hand, if an employer asks employees to present doctor's notes about being unable to work for other temporary disabilities, the employer can also require you to present a doctor's note regarding your pregnancy-related condition and ability to work. Therefore, if you are not able to do your job because of your pregnancy, your employer needs to treat you in the same way as it would another temporarily disabled employee. For example, if your employer permits temporarily disabled workers to change assignments, perform job tasks from home, or go on disability leave (or leave without pay), the employer needs to allow a pregnant employee who is temporarily disabled to do the same. Your employer is also not permitted to retaliate against you for requesting a reasonable accommodation or complaining that your pregnancy is not being accommodated. Our Philadelphia pregnancy discrimination attorneys can help you hold an employer accountable for violating these rules as well.

Taking Leave Based on Pregnancy

Employers need to hold a job open for pregnancy-related leave as long as they would for an employee who takes disability or sick leave for reasons other than pregnancy. Employers also cannot enact a rule requiring an employee to come back to work at a pre-set time period after childbirth. Moreover, the health insurance that your employer provides needs to cover pregnancy-related conditions in the same manner as it handles the costs of other medical problems. Your employer is also not allowed to restrict benefits for pregnant women only to employees who are married, and if your employer gives benefits to any worker on leave, the employer needs to give the same benefits to women on pregnancy related leave.. Similarly, a pregnant worker should be treated in the same way as other temporarily disabled workers in terms of vacation calculations, accrual of seniority, and pay increases.

The Fair Practices Ordinance

Likewise, under the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, pregnancy is considered a temporary disability. Employers are required to give you the same benefits and treatment that they give to employees with temporary disabilities. Any such policy should be clearly set forth. It is illegal for an employer to fail to give you a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy-related condition, childbirth, or pregnancy as long as you ask for the accommodation, and the accommodation that you request would not pose an undue hardship. The law does not require you to get any documentation or support from your doctor to request the accommodation. Reasonable accommodations could include restroom breaks, restructuring of the job, and periodic rest.

Consult an Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer in the Philadelphia Area

If you have been subjected to pregnancy discrimination at your job, you should consult the employment litigators at Phillips & Associates. You can call us at (215) 315-7694 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation.

1635 Market St #1600A
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 315-7694
Fax: (212) 901-2107

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