Employers cannot base employment decisions based on a woman’s pregnancy.
If a female is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, the employer may have to provide light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees if it does so for other temporarily disabled employees. Medical impairments related to pregnancy are to be treated under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), where an employer may have to provide a reasonable accommodation to the employee.
Title VII prohibits discrimination of pregnant workers.
It is unlawful to harass a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. This Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer. This type of harassment leads to a case for Hostile Work Environment.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers who permit temporally disabled workers to take leave must provide the same accommodation to pregnant workers who are temporarily disabled. This does not mean that the employer must provide pregnancy or maternity leave, but rather only in some limited cases. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) workers are permitted to take up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons. The employee must have worked 1250 hours in the preceding 12 months and the employer must qualify under the FMLA.
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