Pregnancy Discrimination

Ohio and Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys

As pregnancy discrimination attorneys located in Columbus, Ohio and Toledo, Ohio, we are well-equipped to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf when an employee or applicant faces pregnancy discrimination. If you believe you are being treated differently in any aspect of employment because of your pregnancy, contact a pregnancy discrimination attorney at Bryant Legal, LLC to assure your rights are protected.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants because they are pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination involves treating a female (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Specifically, the terms “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex” include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of:

  • Pregnancy,
  • Childbirth, or
  • Related medical conditions; and
  • Women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.

As such, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment. Below are common scenarios that overlap with the PDA prohibiting pregnancy discrimination. If any of the scenarios apply to you, contact us immediately to assure your rights are properly protected.

A.  Pregnancy Discrimination & Temporary Disability

If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, the employer may have to provide light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees if it does so for other temporarily disabled employees.

Additionally, impairments resulting from pregnancy (for example, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, a condition characterized by pregnancy-induced hypertension and protein in the urine) may be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  An employer may have to provide a reasonable accommodation (such as leave or modifications that enable an employee to perform her job) for a disability related to pregnancy, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense).  The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 makes it much easier to show that a medical condition is a covered disability.  You may also find more information about the ADA Amendments Act here.

B. Pregnancy Discrimination & Harassment

It is also unlawful to harass a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (i.e. disciplined, terminated, demoted, etc.). The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

C. Pregnancy, Maternity & Parental Leave

Under the PDA, an employer that allows temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave or leave without pay, must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy to do the same.

An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee’s ability to work. However, if an employer requires its employees to submit a doctor’s statement concerning their ability to work before granting leave or paying sick benefits, the employer may require employees affected by pregnancy-related conditions to submit such statements.

Further, the protections afforded to those who are pregnant also overlap with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. For example, a new parent (including foster and adoptive parents) may be eligible for 12 weeks of leave (unpaid or paid if the employee has earned or accrued it) that may be used for care of the new child. For questions about FMLA eligibility or your rights under the FMLA, contact us today. Additionally, nursing mothers may also have the right to express milk in the workplace under a provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

D. Retaliation is Prohibited

Remember, any employee, regardless of his or her status, has a private cause of action if he or she experiences retaliation. Many employment laws, including the PDA, ADA, and FMLA as described above (and Ohio’s laws which mirror federal statutes) prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees.

For more information about your rights as a pregnant employee or applicant, whether it be under PDA or the FMLA, contact a Columbus or Toledo pregnancy discrimination attorney at Bryant Legal, LLC to discuss in more detail.

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