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Having a Baby? Know your Workplace Rights

If you are currently pregnant and either working or looking for a new job, know that it is illegal for your current or prospective employer to discriminate against you in any way because of your pregnancy. You might already know that it is illegal for you to be fired or denied a job because of your pregnancy, but do you know all of the rights that are afforded to you by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978? The protections contained within this amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 go far beyond securing employment for pregnant women, to prohibiting employers from asking you certain questions and allowing you to request and receive certain accommodations in your workplace.

If you feel you have faced discrimination in your workplace because of your pregnancy, status as a parent, or your presumed desire to start a family in the future, speak with an experienced workplace discrimination attorney to determine whether you have grounds for a workplace discrimination claim.

What Are my Rights?

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers are required to treat pregnant employees exactly the same way as non-pregnant employees who have a similar ability to perform job tasks. This means that you cannot be fired, kept from being promoted, denied benefits or training, or specifically chosen for a layoff because of your pregnancy. It also means that you are permitted to request an accommodation that will allow you to perform your job duties to the same ability you were able to perform them before the pregnancy, such as the use of a stool if you normally spend the bulk of your shift on your feet.

Other rights afforded to pregnant employees and new mothers include allowing them to take the time they need off for doctor appointments if other employees would be afforded the same amount of time off for doctor appointments for other conditions. This also extends to the use of benefits: a pregnant employee may not be prohibited from using her company benefits for maternity leave or other pregnancy-related needs if other employees are permitted to take similar leaves of absence for temporary disabilities. This right is underscored by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12 month period to attend to any major family need, including the birth or adoption of a child.

Remember that just because you are entitled to take time off for your child’s birth, you are not required to. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act also prohibits employers from forcing pregnant employees to stop working at any point before or after her child is born. You have the right to continue to work as long as you choose to work.

Work with a Winter Park Employment Attorney

If you have faced pregnancy-related discrimination in your workplace or any other form of sex-based discrimination, contact our team of employment attorneys at Hornsby Law to discuss your rights and your options. Contact us today to schedule your free legal consultation.

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