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New Jersey Employment Lawyers Discuss Pregnancy Discrimination: What Working Mothers and Expectant-Mothers Need to Know

May 17th, 2013

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Title VII, outlawed many forms of discrimination in employment practices in the United States. However, it did not explicitly address pregnancy or childbirth until the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. Effectively, this act amended Title VII to ban employment practices that amount to discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

This federal law requires that pregnant employees receive the same treatment as non-pregnant employees who are of similar ability or inability. This equal treatment, but not to be confused with greater treatment, applies to all work-related processes in New Jersey including hiring, workplace accommodations, right-to-work, benefits, and maternity leave. In addition to the federal legislation, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prevents employers from discriminating in any job-related action.

Explaining Your Right to Fair Treatment in the Workplace

In the hiring process, employers cannot use knowledge of a candidate’s pregnancy in the hiring decision. For example, a hiring manager at a company performs a reference check of a candidate and the reference mentions that the candidate announced she was pregnant a couple months past. In this scenario, the hiring manager cannot deny employment based on this information or even factor it into the decision.

In making workplace accommodations for pregnant workers, employers have to be consistent in the arrangements they make for employees. In this example, consider a worker, Emily, that is 8 months pregnant and her job requires her to stand many hours. As is common, she would like to begin her 12 week leave, provided by either the FMLA or New Jersey Family Leave Act if eligible, as close to the delivery date as possible. If Emily asks her employer for an accommodation so that she doesn’t have to stand at work, the employer is not required to comply with the request. However, if the employer makes job modifications for other workers such as a worker with a strained hip, then the employer must be willing to make modifications for the pregnant worker as well.

With respect to pregnant workers’ right-to-work, it is the law that employers allow employees to continue working for as long as they can perform their job. In the general case of a pregnant employee being absent from work due to a pregnancy-related condition, the employer cannot place any restrictions regarding when she is allowed to return to work. This also applies to post-childbirth situations as well.

New Jersey Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Stand Up For Pregnancy Discrimination Victims

No woman should ever have to lose a job or career based on pregnancy. Likewise, New Jersey law is one of the most progressive in the nation when it comes to protecting against discrimination in the workplace as evidenced by the New Jersey LAD. Fortunately, there is legal protection from discrimination and you do not have to endure the unfair treatment. A knowledgeable, experienced employment attorney can help protect your rights under the federal and state laws.

If you have been confronted with any of these situations or believe you have experienced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation. The Pennsylvania and New Jersey employment attorneys of Sidney L. Gold & Associates have long advocated for the fair treatment of employees, regardless of race, gender, age, religion, or disability.  Call us today to speak with a knowledgeable, experienced employment discrimination attorney who will guide you through the steps on how to respond to discrimination in the workplace.  We will review the evidence in your case and advise you on how to proceed to get the compensation you deserve.  Our offices are conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, and we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to discuss your employment discrimination case.

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