philadelphia pregnancy Discrimination law firm serving pennsylvania and new jersey
Pregnancy discrimination has a long history in our society, particularly when it comes to the workplace. At one time, it was not uncommon for employers to fire pregnant employees when they began showing during a pregnancy. Discrimination against unmarried pregnant women was even worse. While we have come a long way, employment discrimination related to pregnancy is still prevalent.
If you believe that you are dealing with employment discrimination based on pregnancy, it is vital to contact an employment attorney who can determine your rights and remedies.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), and national origin. Title VII applies to employers who employ 15 or more employees.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is an amendment to Title VII that prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions under the “sex” category. Under the PDA, an employer may not discriminate against a female employee in any part of the employment relationship for being pregnant or for her potential to become pregnant in the future. An employer must treat a pregnant employee the same as any other employee. For example, employers must provide medical coverage for pregnancy on the same level as other medical conditions, employers must hold a job open for as long as it would be held open for an employee on disability leave, and, if an employer allows temporary disabled employees to take leave or have light duty, then a pregnant employee must be given the same options. In addition, an employee may not be harassed due to her pregnancy to the extent that it causes a hostile work environment or leads to an adverse employment decision (e.g., being demoted or fired).
Further, a pregnancy-related condition may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), thus requiring employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees. The determination of whether the condition is a disability under the ADA is complex and determined on a case-by-case basis.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) prohibits discrimination and harassment against multiple classes of people, including discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical decisions. The PHRA applies to employers who employ 4 or more employees.
Some Pennsylvania cities provide even more protections for pregnant women. For example, Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance requires employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees. The PFPO applies to employers of any size.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) also prohibits discrimination and harassment against multiple classes of people, including discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical decisions. Further, the NJLAD requires employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees (e.g., water/bathroom breaks and job restructuring). The NJLAD applies to employers of any size.
I have been discriminated against. What do I do?
There are strict deadlines for filing discrimination claims that vary by the circumstances of your situation and the state in which you reside. In Pennsylvania, victims of discrimination must first file through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) and receive a “Right to Sue” letter in order to file a lawsuit in court. In New Jersey, individuals may file a lawsuit in court without first filing with an agency.
If you have been a victim of illegal discrimination in the workplace, contact employment lawyer Stephanie J. Mensing of Mensing Law LLC at (215) 586-3751. Ms. Mensing in an employment attorney with extensive experience handling discrimination cases in the agencies and state and federal courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Schedule a consultation today to ensure that your rights are protected.