Do I have a case for pregnancy discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination New Jersey

There are several protections afforded pregnant employees in New Jersey.  The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against an employee or applicant because of their being pregnant or because they suffer from pregnancy related medical issues. Accordingly, employers may be liable under the LAD if the employer knows, or should know, that a woman is affected by pregnancy and the woman is treated less favorably than other employees who are not affected by pregnancy.

 Generally, maternity leave is taken pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In order to qualify for FMLA leave, an employee working for a private employer must meet the following conditions: 

  1. You must have worked for your employer for 12 months;
  2. You must have worked at least 1250 hours; and
  3. You must work for an employer who has at least 50 employees.

 

 Under the FMLA you are entitled to 12 weeks of medical leave, which you can use as maternity leave.  Once your baby is born you can then take an additional 12 weeks of leave to bond with your newborn baby.  This leave is afforded via the New Jersey Family Leave Act (“NJFLA”).  Eligible employees are entitled to 12 weeks leave in any 24-month period.  Also, Men are entitled to paternity leave under the NJFLA to bond with their newborn child. In order to qualify for “bonding” leave, you must meet the following criteria: 

  1. You must have worked for your employer for 12 months;
  2. You must have worked 1000 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the request for leave; and
  3. You must work for an employer with at least 50 employees.

 

So what happens if you are not fortunate enough to work for an employer with at least 50 employees, are you not allowed maternity leave? Well, under the LAD, your employer, regardless of size, may have to grant you maternity leave as a reasonable accommodation.  Under the LAD, your request for maternity leave is reasonable so long as it will not cause an undue hardship to the employer.  Obtaining maternity leave under the LAD is very fact specific and must be evaluated on a case-by case basis. 

 

You need to speak with an employment attorney if you are pregnant and/or recently had a child, and are experiencing any of the following: 

  1. Your employer has decided that you are no longer are capable of properly performing your job, despite the fact that prior to becoming pregnant , there was never an issue with your performance;
  2. Your employer has started hinting that maybe you should just take time off from work to raise our child;
  3. Your employer is not abiding by the medical restrictions you have as a result of your pregnancy;
  4. Your employer has terminated you while pregnant or shortly after having your child;
  5. Your employer has stopped your medical insurance;
  6. Your employer terminated you while on maternity or paternity leave;
  7. Your employer has changed your work schedule without your consent;
  8. Your employer is treating your differently from the non-pregnant employees; or
  9. Your employer has simply denied your request for pregnancy-related leave as you did not qualify for FMLA or NJFLA, despite the fact that granting you the requested leave would not be an undue hardship for the employer.

 

Of course there are many other examples of pregnancy discrimination. Chances are, if you think your boss is discriminating against you because you are pregnant or because you recently had a child, you’re probably right.

 

 

 

 

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