What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination involves treating a woman (an employee or applicant) unfavorably because of;

  • Pregnancy;
  • Childbirth; or
  • A medical issue related to childbirth or pregnancy

In New Jersey, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), one of the broadest discrimination laws in America, strongly prohibits discrimination against pregnant women. As a New Jersey employee, you have the right to take legal action against your employer if they discriminate against you because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical issue related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Below are four examples of acts that usually constitute pregnancy discrimination.

Being Denied a Job Opportunity Because of Your Pregnancy or Plans to Become Pregnant

If a prospective employer has refused to give you a job (even in a case where you were applying for another position within the organization) because you are pregnant, then you are a victim of pregnancy discrimination. Also, if you were denied a job opportunity after a prospective employer found out you could become pregnant in the future, you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination. In fact, it is against the law for a prospective employer to ask you about your childbearing plans during an interview.

Being Denied Reasonable Accommodations

According to New Jersey law, employers are supposed to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women in the workplace. If, for example, your employer refuses to provide you with breaks to pump breast milk, you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination. It is important to note that a pumping location may not be a toilet stall. A pumping location must be a safe, secure, private room or other location near the work area.

With that said, you should also note that an employer with less than 50 employees can defend themselves for failing to provide reasonable accommodation on the ground of “unreasonable hardship.”

Being Fired Because You are Pregnant

Some employers fire pregnant women or women who have given birth on the ground that the new baby might interfere with their ability to perform their work duties. Other employers fire pregnant women on the ground that the physical nature of their job may be bad for their pregnancy. Regardless of the reason your employer gave you for firing you, ensure you speak to an employment discrimination lawyer to determine if you have a case.

Restricting Pregnancy-Related Medical Leave 

According to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as long as you are an eligible employee, you have the right to take twelve workweeks of maternity leave. The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) also gives you the right to take an extra 12 weeks to bond with your child after they are born. Even if you do not work for an employer with at least 50 employees, you may still have a case of pregnancy discrimination; if your employer cannot prove that, had they allowed you to take the leave, they would have suffered undue hardship.

Contact Our Office for a Free Case Evaluation

If you believe you have fallen victim to pregnancy discrimination, you need an experienced discrimination attorney. The Trabosh Law Firm is experienced and passionate about protecting the rights of women. Contact the Trabosh Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with Ms. Trabosh.

Posted in