As recently as 1978, there were no laws in place to protect pregnant women in the workplace. Employers have come a long way. Most employers are in tune with the FMLA, and some embrace it as good work place policy. Then there are the dinosaurs who just don’t like the FMLA. Today there are a number of federal and state laws to protect pregnant women from the dinosaur employer. Get familiar with these laws and enforce your rights under the FMLA.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978 and gives pregnant women the same rights as others with “medical conditions” by prohibiting job discrimination. The law states that:
- Your employer cannot fire you because have become pregnant.
- Your employer cannot force you to take mandatory maternity leave of absence.
- You must be granted the same health, disability, and sickness-leave benefits as any other employee who has a medical condition.
- You must be given modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave, or leave without pay.
- You will be allowed to work as long as you can perform your job effectively.
- You have guaranteed job security during your maternity leave.
- You continue to acquire seniority and remain eligible for pay increases and benefits during your leave.
Family & Medical Leave Act
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), applies to companies that employ 50 or more people within a 75-mile radius of the workplace. It states that if you have been employed for at least one year by the company and work at least 25 hours a week, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. Twelve weeks of maternity leave can be taken at the same time or divided up over the course of the year before or after the birth of your child. You must be restored to an equivalent position with equal benefits when you return from your leave according to this law.