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Accommodating an Employee with a High-Risk Pregnancy


Federal and State Laws Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with a High-Risk Pregnancy

Employment laws allow employees to use reasonable accommodations when dealing with a high-risk pregnancy. The accommodations may include the option to work from home, take medical leave, and adjust their workspace in the workplace. If your employer denies you accommodations for your high-risk pregnancy or you get fired from work instead of receiving accommodations, you have a right to seek compensation.

Working with a dedicated employment lawyer can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve for the difficulties your employer added to your already high-risk pregnancy. Call the pregnancy discrimination lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group in Philadelphia, New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, or New Jersey to learn more about your rights to fight pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.

What Is a High-Risk Pregnancy?

Many women have normal, healthy pregnancies. A woman may be diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy if she has serious health problems during pregnancy. Issues that create problem pregnancies may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Lung problems
  • Kidney disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • HIV
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Multiple babies in one pregnancy
  • Placenta previa
  • Fetal conditions
  • Tilted Uterus

What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Women with High-Risk Pregnancies?

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you may require your employer to make certain reasonable accommodations. These accommodations may allow you to work until you are ready to take maternity leave. Sometimes, the accommodations will allow you to take medical leave, such as FMLA leave or temporary disability, until after you have the baby. Some reasonable accommodations for high-risk pregnancy may include:

  • Adjusting work shifts
  • Working from home
  • Providing time off to attend doctors’ appointment
  • Providing frequent bathroom breaks
  • Carrying a water bottle all day
  • Providing more comfortable seating options
  • Restricted lifting duties
  • Transferring to a less demanding position if requested
  • Family Medical Leave
  • Temporary disability leave

Can an Employer Ever Deny You Reasonable Accommodations for Your High-Risk Pregnancy?

An employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for a pregnant employee unless the employer can prove it causes an undue hardship. Undue hardship means the company will be at such a loss that it is detrimental to its well-being and its other employees. The following factors can be used to determine undue hardships:

  • Cost of the accommodation
  • Type of facility
  • Financial resources
  • The impact on the workplace and other employees
  • Number of employees at your location
  • Operation of the business.

If an undue hardship occurs, your employer must work with you to provide another reasonable accommodation that helps you and your employer

What Laws Protect Employees from Discrimination for High-Risk Pregnancies?

Federal and state laws protect pregnant women from discrimination in the workplace. Additional laws may protect women with high-risk pregnancies in the workplace.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from making negative employment decisions against employees because of pregnancy.

Disability Discrimination

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from making negative employment decisions against a disabled employee. When a pregnancy includes health conditions as a result of the pregnancy, you can apply disability laws. High-risk pregnancies are protected under the ADAAA.

Family and Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to an employee for medical conditions. If you require medical leave as an accommodation, you can use FMLA. She can also use temporary disability leave for any additional time off as needed.

State Laws

States have pregnancy accommodation laws as well.

The following state laws mandate that employers provide pregnant employees with reasonable accommodations:

  • The New York Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
  • New Jersey Pregnancy Accommodation and Pregnancy-Related Disability Accommodation Act
  • Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance
  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act
  • California Pregnancy Disability Leave
  • California Family Rights Act

How Does an Employee with a High-Risk Pregnancy File a Claim for Discrimination?

If your employer refuses to provide you with accommodations for your high-risk pregnancy, you may file a charge under the PDA or ADA with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC sets a statute of limitations of 180 days.

FMLA Claims

If your employer refuses to allow you to take medical leave under the FMLA, you may file a federal court complaint within the time limit of 2 years.

State Laws

Contact a pregnancy discrimination lawyer to learn more about your rights under state laws relating to pregnancy discrimination. Your lawyer can guide you towards the laws and processes to file a complaint in your state.

How Much Is Your Pregnancy Discrimination Claim Worth?

When you experienced pregnancy discrimination based on your high-risk pregnancy, you deserve compensation. You may request relief from the courts, such as money for lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. You may also request your employer rehire you and change company policies. Sometimes, the courts may award punitive damages to punish your employer for acts of retaliation, wrongful termination, and serious discrimination.

Discuss your compensation options with your pregnancy discrimination attorney before filing your demand for relief with the courts.

How Can a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer Help You Fight for Your Rights in Work?

With a high-risk pregnancy, the last thing you need to worry about is your job. When your employer discriminates against you, refuses to offer reasonable accommodations, fires you from work, or otherwise retaliates against you for any reason relating to your pregnancy, you need a dedicated employment discrimination lawyer to help you fight for justice.

Your employment discrimination lawyer can help you file your claim within the appropriate time limit for the laws best suited for your case. They can negotiate a settlement with your employer early in the process to help you get the compensation you deserve. They can deal with the entire process as your advocate so you can focus on your pregnancy and new baby.

Our Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys Are Here to Help

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you have enough to worry about. You do not need to add the stress of your employer ignoring your needs. If you have been the victim of pregnancy discrimination at work, the Derek Smith Law Group’s experienced attorneys can help.

Did You Have a High-Risk Pregnancy? Did Your Employer Refuse You Reasonable Accommodations, Fire You, or Retaliate Against You as a Result? Please Contact Us at 800.807.2209 or to Learn More About Your Rights.

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