Pregnancy can take a toll on your body. For this reason, many pregnant women ask their employers for reasonable accommodations such as extra breaks or stools so they don’t need to spend as much time on their feet. Sadly, many pregnant women find that their employers are not willing to make these accommodations. Is this pregnancy discrimination? Here’s what you should know:
The Right to Reasonable Accommodations
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant employees. For example, an employer cannot fire you simply because you get pregnant.
This law does not specifically state that employers must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. However, it does state that pregnant employees should be given the same rights and benefits that are given to other workers with a “similar inability to work.” This means if an employer makes reasonable accommodations for other temporarily disabled workers, they must make reasonable accommodations for their pregnant employees.
Why It’s Hard to Get Reasonable Accommodations
Despite the PDA, it is not easy for pregnant women to get reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Why? The court cannot force your employer to make reasonable accommodations unless they are making them for other workers with a similar inability to work. Unfortunately, the court has a very narrow interpretation of the phrase “similar inability to work.”
For example, let’s say your employer has a history of making reasonable accommodations for workers that were injured on the job. However, your employer refuses to make reasonable accommodations for you while you are pregnant. Is this legal? Pregnant employees are entitled to the same rights and benefits as other employees with a similar inability to work. But, the courts believe that an on-the-job injury is not similar to pregnancy. As a result, your employer is not required to treat you the same way they treat injured workers thanks to the court’s narrow interpretation of this key phrase.
To win your case, you must prove that employees who meet the court’s definition of having a similar inability to work were accommodated. This is very challenging, which is why so many women are unable to get reasonable accommodations while pregnant.
Are you a victim of pregnancy discrimination? If so, seek legal representation from the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. as soon as possible. We are proud to help victims of discrimination fight to hold their employers accountable and recover the compensation they deserve. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.