What are my rights at work while I am pregnant?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2020 | Employment Law |

Federal and Pennsylvania labor laws prohibit employers from discriminating against pregnant workers. You have a right to request a reasonable workplace accommodation and to remain employed without experiencing harassment or a threat of termination.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an employer may not reduce, reassign or demote your position based on pregnancy. You also have a right to a leave of absence.

Request a reasonable accommodation

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to make minor changes or adjustments to working conditions when required for medical reasons. If your job involves physically demanding tasks that you cannot perform while pregnant, your employer must provide a reasonable accommodation just as though you were a disabled worker.

As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lifting heavy objects may increase the risk of harm during pregnancy. Your employer must either take steps to make potentially harmful tasks easier for you to handle safely or instruct another employee to assist you.

Take a leave of absence

Your employer must hold your position open if you take a leave of absence. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may request taking unpaid time off from work for up to 12 weeks. Whether you need to take a break before going into labor or if you require some time off after your baby’s birth, you may expect to return to your position or to a comparable one.

Employers cannot lawfully terminate or reduce your health insurance while you take a medical leave of absence. If you experience retaliation or harassment because of your condition, you can take legal action related to pregnancy discrimination.

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