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Pregnancy in the Workplace: A Mother's Rights

Pregnant woman at computer

Pregnancy is a beautiful phase in a woman's life, but it can be challenging when it comes to balancing work and pregnancy. Employers are required to provide pregnancy accommodations, and it's important for all pregnant woman to know their rights. As an employment law firm, we understand the importance of mother's rights in the workplace and aim to provide tangible tips to help working mothers navigate their pregnancy. Keep reading for what you need to know, courtesy of our experts at Bailess Law Firm PLLC.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), enacted in 1978, is a vital federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Under the PDA, employers cannot discriminate against pregnant employees in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, and benefits.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for the birth of a child, including bonding time. This law ensures that new mothers can take time off to care for their newborns without fear of losing their job.

Reasonable Accommodations

Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the PDA. These accommodations may include adjustments to work duties, flexible work hours, or physical accommodations to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for expectant mothers.

Equal Pay and Benefits

Pregnant employees should receive equal pay and benefits, regardless of their pregnancy status. They are entitled to the same wages, insurance coverage, and benefits as any other employee in their position.

Protection Against Harassment

Pregnant employees are protected against harassment, including offensive comments or actions related to their pregnancy. Employers must take action to address and prevent such behavior in the workplace.

Paid Maternity Leave

While the United States does not have a federal paid maternity leave policy, some states and employers offer paid leave. Understanding your rights and any available paid leave options is essential for expectant mothers.

Nursing Mothers

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time and a private place to express breast milk for up to one year after the child's birth. This law ensures that nursing mothers can continue to breastfeed or pump milk for their infants while at work.

Know Your Rights

It's important for expectant mothers to know their rights in the workplace. If you believe your rights are being violated, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Talk to Your Employer: Discuss your concerns with your employer or HR department. They may not be aware of the issue or may be willing to address it.

  2. Consult with Legal Counsel: If your concerns are not resolved or you face retaliation for raising them, consult with an employment attorney who can provide guidance and, if necessary, pursue legal action on your behalf.

  3. File a Complaint: You can also file a complaint with relevant government agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to investigate and address workplace discrimination issues.

Bailess Law Firm PLLC Is Here for You

Botton line: pregnancy accommodations are essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of pregnant employees. As a working mother, it's important to understand your rights, request accommodations when needed, and seek legal representation if you feel you have been treated unfairly. At Bailess Law Firm, we're dedicated to helping mothers navigate pregnancy in the workplace. Contact us today to learn more about what our skilled workplace law attorneys can do for you. 

Call Bailess Law Firm PLLC today at (304) 841-0037 or request a consultation online.

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