Your Right to Accommodation During Pregnancy

Submitted by rachel on

Depending on your situation, your employer may have to accommodate you when your pregnancy affects your ability to do your job. This is because the Pregnancy Disability Act (PDA) protects pregnant employees from discrimination. The employee is required to act in a way that allows the pregnant employee to undertake work related tasks.

Pregnancy Disability Act (PDA)

The PDA prohibits employers with more than 15 employees from discriminating against women based on a past, current, or future pregnancy or medical condition caused by pregnancy or childbirth. Employers are not allowed to refuse to hire, demote, terminate, or retaliate against an individual due to pregnancy, even if the employer believes the decision is in the employee’s best interest. Instead, employers must provide pregnant employees with the same reasonable accommodations, such as leave benefits or modified job responsibilities that are extended to employees “similar in ability or inability to work.”

As well as providing leave, an employer must also reasonably accommodate pregnant women as they would for other workers. Examples of reasonable accommodation for a pregnant worker includes letting her sit during her shift, limiting tasks that involve heavy lifting and temporarily reassigning them to other tasks, and also allowing her to telecommute.

Family Medical Leave Act

The FMLA permits eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

  • providing ongoing care to the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has been diagnosed with a serious health condition;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child up to 12 months of placement;
  • a serious health condition that means the employee is unable to perform the necessary requirements of his or her job;
  • a child’s birth and to care for the newborn child up to 12 months since birth;
  • 26 work weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin.

As well as federal laws there are some state laws that protect pregnant women. For example, 42 states and Washington, D.C. have state-level provisions for pregnancy accommodations. However, of those states, 5 provide protections just for state employees which are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, and Nebraska while Alaska only offers provisions for public employers.

Free Case Evaluation

If you’ve been denied reasonable accommodation such as refusal to allow you to sit while undertaking job duties due to your pregnancy you may have a case of discrimination so you should consider contacting an employment lawyer to discuss your employer’s response to your pregnancy. 

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