Although few people would consider pregnancy a “disability,” the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) still makes it strictly illegal for employers to discriminate against women simply due to the fact that they are or plan to be pregnant. If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, or while trying to find new employment, your rights have been violated and you need to stand up for them. Mazaheri Law Firm and our Oklahoma City employment law attorneys can bring nearly 20 years of total legal experience to your case or claim. Call us today at 405-414-2222.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covered pregnancy discrimination in particular. This portion of the act was titled the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).
Due merely to pregnancy-related conditions, an employer cannot:
Refuse to hire a woman.
Reduce a woman’s pay.
Fire or demote a woman.
Change a woman’s job assignments.
Adjust a woman’s benefits.
Prevent a woman from undergoing job training.
An employer is permitted to not hire a pregnant woman if the job description would reasonably be seen as dangerous or impossible for a pregnant woman, such as handling hazardous materials or lifting heavy objects. A woman’s future desire to become pregnant, however, cannot be weighed when making such decisions, as the safe limitations of the workplace do not yet pertain to her.
Rules Regarding Pregnancy & Maternity Leave
A pregnant employee may not be barred from the workplace so long as she is able to perform her job without undue obstruction. Women who temporarily leave the workplace due to pregnancy-related complications must be permitted to return to work if deemed safe by a doctor. The same allowances must be given to a woman who has recently given birth to a child.
If an employer allows for sick or disabled employees to take medical leave without pay, the same leave opportunities must be granted to a pregnant woman, or a new mother. Additionally, many women qualify for 12 weeks of leave – paid or unpaid – due to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) after giving birth to a child. Eligibility is generally granted after a woman has worked at least a full year with the employer before requesting leave, and so long as that employer has 50 or more employees; some variances in eligibility may be present in your state.
Your Health Insurance & Benefits
If you have employer-supplied health insurance, it must cover medical expenses related to pregnancy as if it was coverage for any other health or medical condition. There is currently no mandatory medical coverage for any costs incurred due to a non-mandatory abortion; an abortion is considered mandatory if the mother’s life would have been in jeopardy had an abortion not been performed.
Reimbursable medical events related to pregnancy can include:
Regular doctor checkups.
Medication prescribed due to pregnancy-induced illness.
Costs related to labor and delivery.
We Will Stand Strong with You
Discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace or by employers is completely unacceptable, yet it often goes unchecked because many women do not know their protected rights. Our Oklahoma City pregnancy discrimination attorneys hope to change that for your case. Contact our firm, discuss what happened to you with our legal professionals, and find out what you can do to set things right again.