New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys
Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers
Despite the fact that pregnancy is a natural, normal part of life, far too many women encounter discrimination at work due to pregnancy and need the help of pregnancy discrimination attorneys to fight against it. It has become increasingly common for women to work throughout their pregnancies up until the moment they are ready to give birth. Women given medical advice to perform less strenuous activities or stay at home and rest sometimes face pressure to continue working at their pre-pregnancy pace. However, these women are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Many employers ignore their duties to accommodate their pregnant employees until
In light of the discrimination women have historically faced due to pregnancy, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in 1978 to address the issue on a federal level. The PDA amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under this legislation, employers must not discriminate against employees or prospective employees due to pregnancy or childbirth.
More recently, the State of New Jersey in 2014 enacted an amendment to our New Jersey Law Against Discrimination requiring employers to provided “reasonable accommodation” to women who are pregnant.
The partners at Schall and Barasch believe that a woman’s excitement about her future child should not be overshadowed by the fear of losing her job. The dedicated New Jersey pregnancy discrimination attorneys at Schall and Barasch work passionately to defend pregnant women in the workplace.
What is pregnancy discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination is a type of work-related discrimination that occurs when pregnant women are fired, not hired, or otherwise discriminated against because they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Some forms of pregnancy discrimination include:
- Not being hired due to:
- Visible pregnancy
- Likelihood of becoming pregnant
- Being fired or laid off after:
- Informing an employer of one’s pregnancy
- Returning from maternity leave
- Not receiving:
- Reasonable accommodations
- A raise they would otherwise receive
- Fringe benefits
- Consideration for promotion
- Referrals or recommendations
- Necessary training
Even if the employer believes their actions and decisions are in their employee’s best interest, they may not refuse to hire, demote, terminate, or retaliate against any individual due to pregnancy.
It is also illegal for employers, coworkers, clients, and customers to harass a female employee because of their pregnancy, childbirth, or any related medical condition. Simple teasing does not constitute harassment. However, frequent offensive and/or derogatory comments do. This creates a hostile work environment.
If an employer asks a female applicant or employee, but not a male applicant or employee about possible child care responsibilities, this is also a form of sex discrimination.
Lastly, employers must provide pregnant employees with the same reasonable accommodation they would provide to an employee with a similar ability or inability to work.
Can my employer fill my job while I take FMLA to give birth?
If there are medical reasons for a pregnant woman to take time off during a pregnancy, employers are mandated by law to hold a pregnant employee’s position open for the same length of time as they would for any employee who is on leave due to a medical condition or temporary disability. According to the FMLA, employers are required to hold a job for the returning employee for 12 weeks. Speak to wrongful termination lawyers in New Jersey if you lost your job while taking FMLA leave.
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. So, under certain circumstances, a woman in New Jersey can be able to take up to 24 weeks of job-protected leave, with half of time preceding the child’s birth and the other half following the birth. It’s a complicated situation, so consulting with an attorney about your rights is critical.
What is a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy?
If a pregnant employee’s doctor advises her to ask for a less strenuous position, the employer must accommodate this request, provided it does not “unduly burden” the employer. Some examples of reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers include:
- Allowing the employee to sit during their shift
- Limiting heavy lifting
- Temporarily reassigning them to other tasks
- Allowing the employee to telecommute
Undue burden is a measure of the amount of trouble, including monetary expenditures, loss of business, and supervision requirements it takes for an employer to grant an accommodation. For instance, it usually is not unduly burdensome for an employer to modify a woman's job duties or change her assignment to accommodate her 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. Similarly, employers that allow temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave, or unpaid leave, must allow the same for pregnant employees.
Breastfeeding and Employment
New Jersey law also protects women who are breastfeeding and need to pump at work. All employers in this State must provide reasonable accommodation to allow for breastfeeding--accommodation that includes reasonable break time and a private place to pump that is near the employee’s work area.
Are employees protected from discrimination for past pregnancies?
Yes. Applicants as well as employees may not face discrimination because of past pregnancy or related medical conditions. Employees cannot be fired after returning to work due to a pregnancy-related need.
Are medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth covered?
Employers cannot discriminate against employees who suffer medical conditions during pregnancy or after childbirth. Some of these conditions include:
- Gestational diabetes
- Back pain
- Lactation issues
- Conditions that require bed rest
What do pregnancy discrimination attorneys do?
A pregnancy discrimination attorney will first evaluate 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. Pregnancy discrimination attorneys investigate your case, collect direct and circumstantial evidence, and develop a legal strategy for your claim. A firm that works exclusively with employment law cases such as Schall & Barasch will be best equipped to represent you against discriminatory labor practices.
Do I need a pregnancy discrimination attorney?
Pregnancy discriminations are complicated and sometimes difficult to prove. Don’t give up. Remember that you deserve a workplace free from discrimination. You need to find an attorney you can trust to advocate for you. In order to protect your rights, an attorney needs to complete extensive research, consult with appropriate experts, and file all relevant paperwork correctly and on time. An experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney will also provide representation on your behalf during necessary court procedures or settlement meetings. Most importantly, they can help you obtain compensation for losses resulting from your employer’s discriminatory actions. Pregnancy Discrimination attorneys Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch have dedicated their entire careers to advocating for workers’ rights in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Call their offices at 856-914-9200 or fill out their online contact form to request a case evaluation.
Richard Schall agues against forced arbitration before the New Jersey Supreme Court