Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace is Unlawful
It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a current or potential employee based upon pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer must treat her in the same way as it treats any other disabled employee. Meaning, the employer must provide pregnancy accommodations.
Pregnancy discrimination may include:
- Refusing to hire a pregnant applicant;
- Denial of time off;
- Denial of reasonable accommodations;
- Forced leave of absence;
- Forced work restrictions;
- Reduction in pay;
- Refusing to reinstate the employee to her same position upon return from maternity leave; and
Types of Pregnancy Accommodations
Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”), an employer must treat an employee that the employer knows, or should know, is affected by pregnancy in the same manner as it treats other temporarily disabled employees. Meaning, the employer must accommodate an employee affected by pregnancy just as it would accommodate any other temporarily disabled employee.
Examples of pregnancy-related accommodations include:
- Bathroom breaks;
- Breaks for increased water intake;
- Periodic rest;
- Assistance with manual labor;
- Job restructuring;
- Modified work schedule;
- Light duty; and
- Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous work.
Under the NJLAD, employers are required to accommodate a nursing mother’s need to pump breast milk and the accommodation must be provided so long as the mother is nursing her child. In providing the accommodation, the employer must:
- Provide nursing mothers with a designated, private space for them to pump breast milk;
- The designated space must be close to their workspace; and
- The designated space cannot be a restroom.
The NJLAD has very sweeping protections for employees affected by pregnancy. If you think you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination, you should contact Arykah Trabosh as she is knowledgeable on all aspects concerning pregnancy discrimination, including your right to have your pregnancy-related conditions accommodated.