Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

What accommodations does my employer need to make for my pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a wonderful period of time in your life, but it is not without its challenges.  Pregnancy can impact your ability to perform work duties.  The good news for pregnant employees is that you are entitled to some protections under federal and state law.  Even with these protections in place, however, many pregnant employees find themselves being treated differently due to their medical condition.  Our New York City employment discrimination lawyers at Thomas M. Lancia PLLC discuss your rights as a pregnant employee below.

The Pregnancy Disability Act

The PDA was passed in 1978 to ban sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.  It applies to employers with over 15 employees.  It essentially provides that employers must extend the same rights and benefits to pregnant employees that they do to other similarly situated employees.  As such, your right to accommodations during pregnancy will depend in part on your employer’s rules concerning non-pregnant employees with temporary disabilities.  The PDA does not itself require that your employer make accommodations for pregnant employees; but, it does require that you be treated that same as any other temporarily disabled employee.

For example, if your employer provides light duty work to employees that are injured or ill temporarily, then your employer must offer you the same accommodations.  If you are a pregnant employee and your employer has refused to make reasonable accommodations, you may have a viable claim for employment discrimination.  Your employer would need to show a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for treating you differently in order to support its actions.

Americans with Disabilities Act

For pregnant employees suffering pregnancy related disabilities, such as preeclampsia, the Americans with Disabilities Act may provide some legal protections.  Employees suffering from a disability protected by the ADA will be entitled to accommodations from their employers.  However, those with an uncomplicated pregnancy will not qualify.

These are just a few of the federal laws that could apply to protect you as a pregnant employee from discrimination.  Several states additionally have state laws offering protections for pregnant employees. Contact an employment discrimination lawyer if you believe your employer has refused to make reasonable accommodations for your pregnancy.