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Working while pregnant: An employment law primer

Working while you are pregnant can be a stressful process. You may find yourself to be more tired than usual and hungrier than usual. You may find yourself in need of more frequent restroom breaks. And you may generally just be uncomfortable while you are trying to do your work. Unfortunately, your physical discomforts are not the only realities you need to worry about during your pregnancy, at least from an employment law standpoint.

It is a frustrating and well-documented fact that forms of pregnancy discrimination are alive and well within the American workforce. It is therefore important that you understand your rights as a worker as soon as you learn that you are pregnant. And it is also therefore important that you consider speaking with an attorney who is experienced in matters of employment law if you are concerned that your rights are being trampled upon.

As a pregnant worker, you are generally entitled to reasonable accommodations which do not cause your employer undue hardship. A case currently before the United States Supreme Court should help to clarify when such accommodations are protected and when they may be overlooked by your employer. But generally, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations.

In addition, you may not generally be discriminated against in the workplace, wrongfully terminated or denied proper leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act. If you have questions about these or any other pregnancy-related rights or rights related to breastfeeding accomodations in the workplace, please contact an experienced local attorney.

Source: TIME, “Everything Working Women Need to Know About Pregnancy Discrimination,” Kara Brandeisky, Dec. 3, 2014

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