What Are My Rights as a Pregnant Employee?

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As an expecting woman in the workplace, you are already likely dealing with the challenges associated with the pregnancy process, such as morning sickness, frequent doctor’s visits, and discomfort. Having your rights violated by your employer should not have to be a concern of yours as you prepare to welcome a child into the world. Federal and Illinois laws can help you remain healthy, ensure that you receive adequate time off when you need it, and protect you from pregnancy discrimination.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Title Vii of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended in 1978 to include the prohibition of sex discrimination based on the status of pregnancy. Employers are not permitted to discriminate on the basis of any of the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Related medical conditions

Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for those who are pregnant in the same way as it offers accommodations to those who are temporarily disabled. The PDA does not require employers to give time off for disabilities associated with pregnancy. It does, however, require that employers treat pregnancy disability the same as that for disabilities that result in sick leave or temporary disability benefits.

Accommodations Afforded to Pregnant Mothers

Employers in the state of Illinois are required to give all expecting and new mothers reasonable accommodations. This is taken further to say that pregnant employees are not required to accept accommodations that she did not request. Such accommodations include:

  • Limits on lifting
  • Access to sitting areas
  • Water breaks
  • Private space for breastfeeding
  • Time off to recover from conditions associated with childbirth

Mothers who are breastfeeding should be afforded certain maternal break time for breastfeeding, whether this is unpaid or taken from existing paid break time.

Protecting Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee

Have your rights been violated or are you experiencing discrimination because of your status as a pregnant woman? At The Prinz Law Firm, we know what laws are in place to protect your rights and will aggressively protect you as a pregnant employee. If you are treated unjustly because you are pregnant, speak with our firm’s Chicago employment lawyer who has handled many workplace discrimination cases successfully.