Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer
The Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination in Connecticut
Pregnancy should be a happy time in life. Unfortunately, discrimination too often results in pregnant job applicants or employees being treated unfavorably.
Let’s take a closer look at pregnancy discrimination — and what victims can do to seek justice.
How Laws Protect Against Pregnancy Discrimination
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) bars employers from treating workers unfairly based on pregnancy status. This includes any disparities in hiring, firing, salary, promotions, layoffs, job assignments and fringe benefits.
Pregnant workers who are unable to perform their work duties must be accommodated in the same manner as any other temporarily disabled employee. This may include assigning light duty or granting leave.
In the same vein, any medical issues arising from pregnancy (such as preeclampsia) may be considered disabilities, and thus fall under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers may be required to provide reasonable accommodations under the ADA in such situations.
Harassment of Pregnant Workers
Federal law makes it illegal to harass pregnant workers in a way that is so frequent or severe that it leads to a hostile work environment.
The harasser is not limited to the worker’s direct supervisor or company leadership. It may include co-workers or even a client of the business.
Family Medical Leave Rights
In addition to rights granted under the PDA and ADA, pregnant workers may have additional rights to exercise under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Pregnant workers can use up to 12 weeks of FMLA-granted leave for childbirth, pre-natal care or medical issues related to pregnancy.
Pregnant workers also have the right to express milk in the workplace under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If this right is curtailed in the workplace, it may result in legal action.
Connecticut Anti-Discrimination Laws
In addition to federal protections, Connecticut also has state-level laws prohibiting discrimination against pregnant workers.
According to the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, it is unlawful to terminate or otherwise discriminate against an employee or applicant because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition. These rights are protected by the state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Under this Act, employers with three or more employees must make reasonable accommodations for an employee, or job applicant, due to pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition. These accommodations may include breaks from work, manual labor assistance, allowances for food and drink and modified dress codes.
Connecticut has enacted the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) which applies to all employers in Connecticut with at least one employee, among other rights, the PFMLA entitles eligible Connecticut employees to paid family leave beginning January 1, 2022.
Finding the Right Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney
As outlined above, there are a complex web of federal and state laws protecting pregnant workers against discrimination. Depending on which legal protections are involved, victims of discrimination may have to file specific complaints with specific agencies, and do this within a certain timeframe.
Working with an attorney who is experienced in pregnancy discrimination law is vitally important, as the right legal advocate can help you navigate the system — and receive any legal compensation to which you are entitled under the law.
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