pregnant woman at home

If you fall pregnant and you have a full-time job, you need to learn what you can expect from your workplace. This article explores what the US legal system says about your ability to work, and your rights.

Continuing to work through pregnancy isn’t something that people choose to do. People work through pregnancy because they can’t afford not to. Even although women ought to rest through pregnancy, it’s not always possible due to financial circumstances. Would-be mothers, particularly single mothers, can’t afford to do what is right for them because the rent needs paid, or the bills won’t take care of themselves.

Why The Law Protects Pregnant Women at Work

Accepting that we need to keep working up until the third trimester of pregnancy is one thing, but the governments of the world cannot expect pregnant people to continue with heavy lifting. There must therefore be laws that they put in place to prevent harm to children before they leave the womb… a common theme in American headlines now.

When you consider that there are 38 countries in the world where it is entirely legal to sack a women for pregnancy, you start to see the issues. Working mothers make up 32% of the total US workforce. Society no longer pays one partner enough to support a whole household.

Knowing Your Rights While Working When Pregnant

Knowing your rights about working while pregnant helps you stay aware. If you suspect that your employer is breaking laws surrounding your rights as a pregnant person or a person on family leave, then you should see legal assistance. HKM Employment Lawyers can help advise you if you live in the San Diego area. Here are the important rights you have as a working pregnant person in the US.

What Employers Can’t Do

If you are pregnant and tell your employer, the USA has laws which prevent employers treating you unfairly. They cannot:

  • Fire you if you become pregnant
  • Refuse to promote you, send you to events, or hire you on account of a pregnancy
  • They cannot harass or discriminate against you either for your pregnancy or for an abortion

Your State Rights

  • Your state may have its own laws, these may conflict with federal laws
  • Your employer may make accommodations for you, such as sitting down more or changing your activities to help you, at your request
  • They may not discriminate against or harassed during your pregnancy

Your Federal Rights

  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents employers discriminating against you if they have over fifteen employees
  • This act asks your employer to make accommodations for your pregnancy based on what you ask of them. Be reasonable in your approach as there are no clearly defined outlines of what accommodations you can make. The accommodations must be effective for both parties.
  • The employer cannot stop you participating in work activities on grounds of your health, only you can do that
  • They cannot fail to promote you because of a pregnancy
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act asks employers to allow temporary leave to those with disabilities – in which pregnancy counts as a disability – if the employer has over fifty employees
  • This act allows you to take 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave for the birth or adoption of a new child
 

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