Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

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New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

Protecting Against Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

When your employer discriminates against you on account of pregnancy or ignores its duty to reasonably accommodate your pregnancy, that employer can be held liable for its conduct under both State and federal law.

Pregnancy Discrimination is Unlawful

Both the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a woman on account of her pregnancy. Your employer will have violated these laws if it has engaged in any of the following conduct:

  • Not hiring or promoting you due to a visible pregnancy or your employer’s knowledge that you intend to become pregnant;
  • Laying you off or terminating your employment after you informed your employer of your pregnancy;
  • Laying you off or terminating your employment after you’ve returned from maternity leave;
  • Allowing you to be harassed on account of your pregnancy, where the harassment might include frequent offensive or derogatory comments from coworkers, bosses, managers, customers, or clients;

Pregnancy & the FMLA

If there are medical reasons for a pregnant woman to take time off during pregnancy, employers are mandated by law to hold her position open for an equal amount of time as any other employee who takes time off due to temporary disability or a medical condition. According to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers must not fill a job occupied by a returning employee for 12 weeks.

Moreover, once the mother gives birth, she is entitled to an additional 12 weeks to leave under New Jersey’s Family Leave Act to provide care for the baby. Under certain circumstances, a woman in New Jersey can take up to 24 weeks of job-protected leave, with half of the time preceding the child’s birth and the other half following the birth. It is a complicated situation, and consulting with a lawyer about your rights is critical.

Breastfeeding & Employment

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination protects women who are breastfeeding and need to pump at work. All employers in the State must provide reasonable accommodation to allow for breastfeeding. This accommodation includes reasonable break time, and a private place to pump that is near the employee’s work area.

Your Employer's Obligation to Reasonably Accommodate Your Pregnancy

Under both the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and (as of June 27, 2023) the newly enacted federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, once you become pregnant, your employer is obligated to provide “reasonable accommodation” of your pregnancy.

Reasonable accommodations for a pregnant worker can include, but are not limited to:

  • Temporarily reassigning the pregnant work to less strenuous tasks
  • Limiting or eliminating any heavy lifting
  • Allowing for additional break time to use the bathroom, eat, or rest
  • Allowing time off for both childbirth and recovery from childbirth
  • Telecommuting during pregnancy or after childbirth, if needed

However, it is important to understand that your employer’s obligation is limited to granting requests for accommodation that are “reasonable,” and that your employer may deny your request if it can show that your request would cause it an “undue burden.” As for what might constitute an “undue burden,” your employer might claim that granting the accommodation would cause it significant financial hardship; would significantly disrupt its ability to carry on its business; or somehow cause a loss of business opportunity.

In addition, if your employer provides accommodations to employees for reasons other than pregnancy, you can certainly claim that you, as a pregnant employee, are entitled to the same accommodations. For example, employers who allow temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave, or unpaid leave, must allow the same for pregnant employees.

Why Hire a New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer?

When you retain the services of Schall & Barasch LLC, we will start by evaluating your case to determine if your employer has discriminated against you on account of your pregnancy or has failed to provide you with the reasonable accommodation to which you are entitled. We might then first attempt to negotiate a successful resolution of the matter with your employer or its attorneys. Failing that, we will carefully and thoughtfully consider with you the possibility of litigation and provide you with our evaluation of your chances of prevailing if a suit is brought.

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Pregnancy discrimination attorney Patricia Barasch has dedicated her entire career to advocating for the rights of employees in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Call us or contact us online to request a consultation.

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