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Can an employer fire you for being pregnant?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Employment Law |

If you get pregnant, you may be wondering what your rights are. Fortunately, you do have excellent rights thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Since this act was enacted, it has been a law that employers may not discriminate against workers due to pregnancy, pregnancy or childbirth-related medical conditions, or childbirth itself.

Under the PDA, you are not allowed to be discriminated against because you are pregnant, have an abortion, are considering an abortion, could become pregnant, were pregnant or have a medical condition related to pregnancy. So, that means that you can’t be rejected for a promotion or job, fired, forced to take leave or given lesser tasks or assignments due to your condition or related factors.

When can an employer change your workload if you’re pregnant?

If you cannot do the job that you are assigned to or would pose a safety risk to yourself or others, then your employer may change your position or ask you to take leave in some cases. However, the employer may not remove you from the job just because it could potentially pose a risk to you or your pregnancy.

If you have trouble doing the job, what should you do?

If you are having trouble doing your job because of pregnancy, then you may ask for reasonable accommodations, such as:

  • Being able to take more regular breaks
  • Permission to sit or stand to be more comfortable
  • Shift changes
  • Permission to work from home
  • Altered scheduling

You may be able to request these accommodations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act or Americans with Disabilities Act.

What happens if there is no accommodation for your needs?

If there are no accommodations for your needs, then you may be able to take unpaid leave as an accommodation. If your workplace offers paid leave, then this may also be available to you and is something to consider.

It can be difficult to know what your rights are, but it’s worth discussing your situation with your employer to decide how you can be accommodated. If you are treated unfairly, then you may be able to file a claim.