Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

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New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers

Protecting Against Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

For many women, pregnancy is an exciting time in their lives. This, unfortunately, can turn sour when faced with discrimination in the workplace. This is an increasingly common occurrence, especially when faced with the pressure to continue working, even when a doctor has advised a woman to rest at home or perform less strenuous activities. These women cannot and should not try to keep up with their pre-pregnancy work pace and are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations for their health and safety, and the health and safety of their unborn child.

When an employer ignores their duty to accommodate a pregnant employee, or a pregnant employee faces discrimination in the workplace, a lawyer can step in and assert her rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), passed in 1978 to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or the State of New Jersey’s 2014 amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Both ban employers from discriminating against current or prospective employees due to conditions arising from childbirth or pregnancy and require them to provide reasonable accommodation to pregnant women.

The partners at Schall & Barasch LLC believe that a woman’s excitement about her future child should not be overshadowed by the fear of losing her job. Our dedicated New Jersey pregnancy discrimination lawyers work passionately to defend pregnant women in the workplace.

The Definition of Pregnancy Discrimination

When a pregnant woman is denied a job, wrongly terminated, denied reasonable accommodations, or discriminated against in the course of her employment because she is pregnant or intends to become pregnant, she may have grounds for a pregnancy discrimination claim against her employer.

This type of discrimination can manifest in many ways, including:

  • Not being hired or promoted due to a visible pregnancy or her employer’s knowledge that she intends to become pregnant
  • Being laid off or terminated after returning from maternity leave or informing her employer of her pregnancy
  • Being denied reasonable accommodations, a raise, promotion consideration, recommendations, necessary training, or other benefits or necessities for the job
  • Retaliation, including wrongful termination or demotion
  • Harassment consisting of frequent offensive or derogatory comments from coworkers, bosses, managers, customers, or clients that creates a hostile work environment
  • Sex discrimination when male coworkers are treated differently than a pregnant female employee

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

New Jersey law 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.

What Are Reasonable Accommodations?

Employers are required to accommodate requests for less strenuous tasks or positions if a pregnant woman’s doctor advises that it would be best for her, or her unborn child’s, health and wellbeing.

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

  • Providing a chair so the employee can sit during her shift
  • Reassigning the pregnant work to less strenuous tasks temporarily
  • Limiting or eliminating any heavy lifting
  • Telecommuting, when possible

An exception to reasonable accommodation requests is if the request in an “undue burden” on the employer. This measures the amount of hassle, including the costs or financial loss, the loss of current or potential business, and new supervision or managerial requirements, that it takes an employer to grant an accommodation. For example, it is usually not burdensome for employers to modify job duties to accommodate pregnancy.

If an employer normally accommodates employees who are “similar in ability or inability to work,” they must provide the same accommodations to pregnant employees. Employers who allow temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave, or unpaid leave, must allow the same for pregnant employees.

Past Pregnancies, Childbirth & Related Medical Conditions

All current and prospective employees are protected from discrimination based on medical conditions that arose from a past pregnancy. They should never face a hostile work environment or termination when returning from work after a pregnancy-related issue.

Similarly, discrimination based on medical conditions that arose before or during childbirth is illegal. This includes any condition that requires bed rest, back pain, issues with lactation, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and more.

Why Hire a New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer?

When you retain the services of Schall & Barasch LLC, your attorney will start by evaluating your case to determine if an employer has discriminated against you for your pregnancy. They will ensure that you meet all of the filing deadlines with respect to the necessary government agencies. Your pregnancy discrimination attorney will investigate your case, collect direct and circumstantial evidence, and develop a personalized legal strategy for your claim.

These specific matters are often complicated and may be difficult to prove. However, it is important to remember that you have the right to work in a discrimination-free environment, no matter what your circumstances. As a firm that works exclusively with employment law cases, Schall & Barasch LLC is well-equipped to represent you against discriminatory labor practices. We can help you seek full and fair compensation to help you recover from your losses after facing a discriminatory workplace.

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Pregnancy discrimination attorneys Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch have dedicated their entire careers to advocating for the rights of employees in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Contact us online to request a consultation.

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