The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees because of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. The Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Under the Act, an employer may not refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy and may not terminate a pregnant employee because she is pregnant. An employer may not force an employee to remain on medical leave after her baby is born. Generally, with respect to maternity leave an employer must treat pregnant women needing leave the same as any other temporarily disabled employees (many pregnant employees also have job protection under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act which is also listed under "Practice Areas" in this website).
The Act also provides for equal treatment in connection with health insurance and fringe benefits. Under the Act employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who refuse to engage in pregnancy discrimination and otherwise oppose such discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination claims must be initiated by filing a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission before an aggrieved employee may sue the employer in federal court.
Merrick Law Firm represents many pregnant women and new mothers. If you believe your employer is taking adverse action against you because you are pregnant or recently had a baby, call us at 312.269.0200 or contact us online to discuss your rights, including getting your job back.