Pregnancy discrimination, part 3: protections from multiple laws
Let’s finish the discussion we began last week about legal protections against pregnancy discrimination.
These protections begin even before pregnancy, with restrictions on what employers can ask during the interview process about whether a woman plans to get pregnant. As we noted in our June 5 post, employers are also not permitted to use pregnancy as a pretext for discriminatory treatment of women, regardless of what a specific employer’s formal maternity leave policy may say.
In this post, we will give some examples of how women can assert their rights after experiencing pregnancy discrimination.
Keep in mind that multiple layers of laws may apply in these cases. At the federal level, these laws include:
• The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
• The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the care of a new child.
• The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) may allow for pregnancy to be classified in some cases as a temporary disability.
• The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) recognizes such workplace rights as the right of nursing mothers to pump milk at work.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is not the only agency involved in enforcing these rights. The U.S. Department of Labor is also involved, and there are also various legal protections available under state laws.
Indeed, there are certain local governments that have put additional protections in place. In New York City, there is a law that requires paid sick leave for pregnant employees. There are also accommodations required under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
Those protections, however, apply only within New York City limits. As the Huffington Post recently reported, that is one reason why there have been calls for Congress to strengthen federal protections against pregnancy discrimination.
Congress may or may not take such action soon. Keep in mind, however, that an employment law attorney who is knowledgeable about pregnancy discrimination law can help you asset your rights under existing laws.
To learn more about our practice, please visit our page on pregnancy discrimination.