Zachary Zawarski is an Employment & Labor Law attorney located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. One of Zachary’s main practice areas is employment discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination.
Unfortunately, someone getting terminated in the workplace after announcing that they are pregnant is too common. Many employers decide to terminate the employment relationship because they are worried that workplace absenteeism may become a problem. If you have been terminated or discriminated in any way in the workplace because of pregnancy, we may be able to help you. Discrimination laws apply to all employment actions so if you were denied a promotion or benefits, you are also protected.
Pregnancy Discrimination Laws
Pennsylvania state law also protects employees from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) would apply to any employer with at least four employees.
Furthermore, federal law may apply as well. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prevents discrimination on the basis of gender was amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) to include discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. The defined term “because of sex” was amended to include “on the basis of pregnancy.”
In order for federal law to apply, the employer must have at least 15 employees. If the employer has less than 15 employees, they do not fall under the definition of an employer under the Act.
Furthermore, if an employer provides fringe benefits to employees, the employer cannot deny these benefits to a woman taking leave because of pregnancy. Additionally, if an employer provides health insurance, the employer must cover pregnancy-related conditions.
If you have experienced any type of employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, please call us today for a consultation. An employee only has 180 days to file a claim against their employer so acting promptly is essential.
If an employer has more than 50 employers, they are subject to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This Act governs all situations when medical leave is required, including pregnancy. Under the Act, women are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of leave for the birth and care of their child. During this time, an employer is required to hold the employee’s job open.
If a woman is able to perform her job, an employer cannot require a woman to take medical leave. Furthermore, if a woman decides to take medical leave prior to the birth of the child, the employer cannot require that the woman remain on leave until the birth of the child. Similarly, an employer cannot establish rules such as a minimum required amount of time to take off work due to child birth. Upon returning to work, the employer must allow the employee to resume the same position they occupied prior to taking leave. If you have been demoted, you may also have a claim.
If you requested medical leave due to pregnancy and were denied, please call us today for a consultation.