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Forced Unpaid Medical Leave Due to Pregnancy


Employers Cannot Force Pregnant Employees to Take Unpaid Medical Leave.

Forcing a pregnant employee to take unpaid leave violates employment discrimination laws. Many pregnant employees plan to work until they give birth. Sometimes they may need special accommodations to continue working. The need for reasonable accommodations does not mean they cannot work or need to take medical leave.

If your boss forces you to take medical leave because of your pregnancy, you have the right to seek compensation. You need a pregnancy discrimination attorney to stand by your side and advocate for your rights. You need an employment lawyer to work with you and help you fight for justice.

What Is Forced Unpaid Medical Leave Due to Pregnancy?

Forced unpaid medical leave is when an employer insists you take a medical leave during your pregnancy. The employer may force you to take leave instead of providing proper pregnancy accommodations. Employers may use tactics such as threatening you that you may get fired from work if you do not take such leave.

What Are Examples of Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees?

Many pregnant women provide employers with requests for restricted duty from their doctors. The restricted duty is a form of pregnancy accommodations the law requires employers to provide for pregnant employees. Some of the accommodations may include:

  • Restrictions for lifting anything over 15 pounds
  • Increased bathroom breaks
  • Offering sitting opportunities due to the inability to stand for long periods of time
  • The ability to carry water at all times
  • The ability to eat several times throughout the day
  • The ability to attend weekly doctor’s appointments

Can Employers Force Pregnant Women to Take Maternity Leave Early?

The United States does not have any federal laws that provide paid maternity leave. However, some state laws may provide paid maternity leave to mothers. Even if you live in a state that offers paid maternity leave, your employer cannot force you to take medical or maternity leave of any kind before you are ready and willing.

Family and Medical Leave

You may take unpaid medical leave for your pregnancy under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You must work for a company with at least 50 employees in workspaces within 75 miles of one another. However, your employer cannot force you to take unpaid medical leave under the FMLA. Using your rights to medical leave must be voluntary.

Temporary Disability

You may qualify for temporary disability for your pregnancy through the state. However, your medical provider must agree you cannot work and are considered temporarily disabled. Since you can work, your medical provider may not be willing to state otherwise. Your employer cannot insist you cannot work and help you qualify for temporary disability for your pregnancy.


Employers can not retaliate against you because you did not take medical leave when forced. Retaliation may include wrongful termination, demotions, denied promotions, reduced pay, shift changes, and other punishments against you, affecting your ability to work.

What Laws Protect Pregnant Women from Being Forced to Take Unpaid Medical Leave?

Several federal laws prohibit employers from forcing pregnant employees to take unpaid medical leave. The laws protecting your rights in the workplace as a pregnant woman include:

  1. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers from making negative employment decisions based on an employee’s pregnancy. These decisions include issues like forcing you to take unpaid medical leave. The law also requires your employer to provide you with reasonable pregnancy discrimination.
  2. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee based on sex. Refusing to grant reasonable accommodations that would be granted to other disabled male employees is a violation of Title VII. Furthermore, forcing a pregnant woman to take medical leave based on her “medical condition” when a man would not be forced to take such leave violated sex discrimination laws.
  3. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) can also protect you from forced unpaid medical leave during pregnancy. Under the ADAAA, an employer must make accommodations for employees with disabilities. If your pregnancy includes a diagnosed disability requiring accommodations, your employer must follow the AAADA.

What Can You Do If Your Boss Forces You to Take Unpaid Medical Leave for Your Pregnancy?

If your employer forced you to take unpaid medical leave during your pregnancy, you have the right to receive compensation. If you want to file your claim in federal court, you must first file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC provides a statute of limitations of 180 days (300 days in some states).

Many states have laws protecting the rights of pregnant employees. To learn more about your rights regarding pregnancy discrimination in your state, contact a dedicated employment discrimination lawyer to discuss the legal options in your state.

How Much Is My Pregnancy Discrimination Claim Worth?

Pregnancy discrimination is not something the courts take lightly. Being forced to take medical leave when you and your family need money the most is cruel. If your employer victimizes you by getting forced to take unpaid medical leave, you have the right to request compensation. You may ask for lost wages, money for insurance premiums, and money for emotional distress and pain and suffering. Discuss your available remedies with your pregnancy discrimination lawyer to get the relief you deserve.

How Can a Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer Help You Fight Discrimination at Work?

If your employer forces you to take medical leave for your pregnancy, you have the right to seek justice. You have the right to receive compensation. You need a lawyer who understands pregnancy discrimination laws and how they can help you receive justice for your claim.

A pregnancy discrimination lawyer can help ensure you request the proper remedies from the courts. They can help you file your claim under the best laws suited for your claim and within the time frame allowed by law. They can help you settle your claim as quickly and fairly as possible.

Contact Our Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation

It only makes sense that you would want to work during your pregnancy. Many moms work until their due date. To be forced to take unpaid medical leave is unethical and illegal. If you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination at work, the Derek Smith Law Group’s experienced attorneys can help.

Are You Pregnant and Working? Did Your Boss Force You to Take Unpaid Medical Leave? Please Call Us at 800.807.2209 to Learn More About Your Rights Against Pregnancy Discrimination.

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