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What exactly is pregnancy discrimination?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2019 | Employment Law - Employees

Discriminating against a worker simply on the basis that they’re pregnant, have recently given birth or on any other related grounds is illegal under federal law. Any woman in West Virginia that is treated in a way that violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which forms part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

An employer cannot allow a prospective employee’s pregnancy to affect whether or not they’re hired for a particular role with the company. It’s illegal for an employer to let a worker’s pregnancy impact what type of position they’re considered for and whether they’re offered certain training opportunities, promotions or benefits. An employer cannot let an employee’s pregnancy affect whether they’re laid off or fired from their job either.

Employers here in Charleston are expected to treat pregnancy like any other short-term disability an employee may have. They’re expected to offer modified work opportunities for their workers. They’re also supposed to allow them to go on unpaid leave if the situation is warranted.

Certain pregnancy-related medical conditions such as sciatica and gestational diabetes may additionally be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

West Virginia employers with a set number of employees may be required to hold open a pregnant employee’s job for at least 12 weeks while the worker takes time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It’s only after doing so that an employer may consider reopening the position to a new hire.

One of the more common reasons why employers discriminate against workers based on their pregnancy, childbirth and other related conditions is because they worry about their ability to get work done in their absence. If an employer hires someone new to bridge the gap while their pregnant worker is out on leave, then they may be overstaffed if and when they return to work. This dilemma often leads employers to take discriminatory action against their workers even though it’s illegal to do so.

An attorney can advise you of the next steps that you may want to take in your case if your Charleston employer has treated you unlawfully.

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