29.03.2014

Can you be fired for getting pregnant

Generally, an employer can fire an employee for any reason because most states follow the “at-will” employment approach. Under certain federal and state laws, an employer must provide certain reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, regardless of whether or not a “disability” arose out of a normal, healthy pregnancy, or a more complicated pregnancy. If the employment falls under FMLA, then the employee may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave, unpaid or paid depending on whether or not the employee has earned or accrued the time.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), if an employer allows temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave or leave without pay, it must also allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy to do the same.
Furthermore, if a mother experiences impairments resulting from the pregnancy, she may endure a disability that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), depending on the severity. Why You Should Not Give a Recorded Statement After a Missouri Car Accident to your Insurance Company!
Most Americans, if they’ve thought about it at all, probably assume that in this day and age, women losing their jobs because they get pregnant is something that went out with martinis and cigars at the office. The problem is in a gap between what is considered discrimination due to pregnancy and what is considered a disability, which includes medical complications arising from pregnancy.
The New York Times reported on a pregnant employee fired from her retail job because her doctor told her not to do any heavy lifting or climb ladders during the last six weeks of her pregnancy.
This loophole in the law particularly hurts women in lower-income jobs and male-dominated professions, who are more likely to be in jobs that require standing for long periods of time, allow limited break times, or include heavy lifting. The US is the only developed nation that doesn't provide or require some sort of paid maternity leave, but what your HR rep might not tell you is that despite laws that bar the discrimination against pregnant women, it's not that tough for certain employers to fire you after you get knocked up, as long as they don't outright say you're being fired for being pregnant.
You're even more screwed if your company has under 50 employees; in that case, they're totally exempt from FMLA requirements.
Other women who have given birth while on the job have found that employers are hesitant to make basic accommodations for pregnant employees, including giving women the option of working from home during a difficult pregnancy.
An employee cannot be legally discharged, or fired, for taking such leave after or during pregnancy.


Under the ADA, if an employee is disabled due to pregnancy, the employer must provide certain modifications, or leave if necessary, to the employee’s work routine as long as the accommodations do not create an undue hardship on the employer. Since the state of being pregnant is not itself considered a disability under the law, employers don’t have to provide any accommodations for pregnant workers.
When she informed her boss, she was fired; in 2008 a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled the firing was fair, because her employers were not obliged under the law to accommodate pregnancy-related restrictions. Anyone who has been pregnant, or been around a pregnant woman for any length of time, knows that pregnancy means more time spent in the bathroom for a variety of reasons. Their bills, if passed, would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant women as requested by their doctors–things like more restroom breaks, limits on heavy lifting, a chair provided for someone who otherwise stands for long periods.
In a paper presented to the American Association of Law Schools, a researcher from the University of Dayton cited surprising examples, such as a retail worker losing her job because store policy didn’t allow her to drink water while at her station, or a pregnant police officer fired for not meeting physical requirements, even though temporarily disabled or injured officers were assigned short-term light duty. However, another concern, particularly in this precarious economy, is that employers might use the economy and lack of specific protections under the ADA to lay off pregnant women more often than other workers. From these statistics, we may need more protection to ensure that pregnant women can at least follow instructions recommended by their doctors to ensure their own and their child’s health, without worrying about losing their job because of it.
But, as many women are finding out, the way we treat working women who dare choose to get pregnant is anything but welcoming or opportunity-enabling. One woman the Post profiled was told by her boss that she could take time off to care for her infant, but was then given the dodge when she tried to return to work. Others have been told that they're not allowed to take as much leave as they thought, or that they're not eligible for any pay while they're off work.
We have a client right now whose company crafted an exit plan for the employee, in a way where they thought the employee would not suspect the insincerity behind the employer’s pressure “to do what is right.” Other employers flat-out wrongfully discharge their expecting employees.
However, federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to the pregnancy or childbirth. It would be difficult to prove discrimination since no employer is going to admit that pregnancy motivated the decision in any way–even in some cases where the first or only people laid off were pregnant or new mothers.


More than half of all pregnancy discrimination complaints, according to the EEOC, involve unfair firings or layoffs.
If women want that, they often have to apply for temporary disability, which only pays a puny couple of hundred dollars per week. Her boss informed her that they didn't have room left for her at the company, and that everyone had assumed she'd vacated her position.
Laws prohibit an employer from discriminating based on pregnancy in any aspect of employment – hiring, firing, wages and compensation, benefits, leave, assignments, and the like.
Although it’s been illegal since the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, women are still refused a job or let go if they’re pregnant.
You’d be shocked, EEOC and employment law folks tell me, at how often employers say so point-blank: Come back after you have the baby. It’s wonderful that we can talk about Sheryl Sandberg going home every day at 5:30 to be with her kids. And it’s wonderful that we can have the advanced conversation about women needing to stand up for themselves in their professional careers.
But there’s a different set of issues for the bottom half of the workforce: basic, straightforward, illegal discrimination still hits them, over and over again. When one of our clients, a Latina janitor, told her boss she was pregnant, he said she needed to go on leave right away and find a replacement.
Often this forced leave occurs early on in pregnancy, when the woman is perfectly able and very much wants and needs to keep working.




How to get pregnant help
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