Can You Be Fired from Your Job for Becoming Pregnant?
Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the most exciting times of a woman’s life, but for women who work, it can be a challenging time. Many women worry that their employers will fire them specifically because of their physical condition. In the state of Pennsylvania as in the entire United States, pregnant women are protected against workplace discrimination. This means not only that they cannot be fired specifically because of their physical condition, but they also may be entitled to time off for physicians’ appointments, as well as provided additional accommodations as needed. When an employer acts in a way that is contrary to these laws, the fired employee may be able to pursue employment litigation to get their job back or to pursue compensation for the damage that they’ve suffered.
Federal law prohibiting discrimination against pregnant employees extends to employers who have 15 or more employees, preventing them from firing or disciplining a woman for being pregnant as well as protecting women who may be applying for a job while pregnant. It also requires those employers to extend the same type of accommodations to pregnant women as to employees that are temporarily disabled by other conditions and to reject stereotypes about pregnant women or new mothers’ abilities. The state of Pennsylvania has taken those protections even further, including employers with four or more employees.
Though both federal law and Pennsylvania state law require employers to provide the same accommodations for pregnant women as other employees disabled temporarily, they do not require those employers to provide them with special treatment. This means that in most Pennsylvania towns, you cannot expect them to create a light duty position for you if they don’t do the same for others. Philadelphia is not among those cities – in the City of Brotherly Love, employers are required to make special accommodations for pregnant women, regardless of whether they do so for other conditions.
It is also important to note that women who are faced with pregnancy-related disabilities such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia are entitled to special accommodations, and may be entitled to time off from work for condition pregnancy-related or childbirth-related conditions. If your employer is not in compliance and you have been fired as a result of your pregnancy, you may have a right to file a lawsuit in pursuit of your rights. To speak with our employment litigation attorneys, call us today to set up an appointment.