What Are My Rights if I’ve Been Fired for Being Pregnant?
If you’re in New Jersey, it’s illegal to fire someone based on a protected category, such as being pregnant. It can be helpful to understand your options, and what you can do about them if you are, unfortunately, fired for a reason related to your pregnancy.
What is Pregnancy Discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination refers to a type of discriminatory behavior when a person is pregnant, or following a pregnancy. All employers in New Jersey are required to follow federal discrimination laws, which prevent them from discriminating against employees for protected categories, including pregnancy. This is a part of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Additionally, pregnant women in New Jersey are also protected by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations
There’s no question that pregnancy can be difficult on the body. As such, it can prevent you from doing some of your normal work duties. But, this isn’t a reason to be fired. If you have work or mobility restrictions due to pregnancy, your employer is required to provide you with the same accommodations they would for an employee who is temporarily disabled.
If you have movement restrictions, for example, they must provide you with light-duty work, without punishment. These laws also cover medical conditions related to pregnancy, like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. Other necessary accommodations may include but are not limited to, more bathroom breaks, additional rest periods, assistance with heavy lifting, or even the ability to be transferred temporarily to different positions.
Is Leave From Work Covered?
Some women may also be ordered to take it easy or to stay on bed rest, for some, or all, of their full pregnancies. If you work for a New Jersey employer with 50 or more employees, they are required to follow all requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act. This program offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to manage medical or caregiving needs. This includes things like prenatal care, prenatal leave, and pregnancy or childbirth-related conditions. New Jersey also has its own form of medical leave, referred to as the New Jersey Family Leave Act. This program offers between 12-week to 24-months of time off to care for a newborn baby. This program can be used in addition to the FMLA program.
Your Options If You’re Wrongly Fired
There are many programs available to pregnant employees who are unable to complete the normal duties of their position. It’s also illegal for an employer to fire someone for being pregnant. If you were wrongly fired, it can be helpful to reach out to an employment lawyer to evaluate your legal options. You can report the wrongful firing to the state. You may also be able to seek compensation for the damages you incurred. If you were wrongly terminated, you likely lost out on wages that you were counting on for the arrival of the baby.
Contact a Moorestown Employment Lawyer to Discuss Your New Jersey Employee Discrimination Case
If you were wrongly fired or discriminated against, you may have legal options. Although New Jersey discrimination laws are supposed to protect you from being wrongly fired, it is not always easy to navigate a discrimination case. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable employment lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced employment attorneys at Attorneys Hartman, Chartered represent clients in Moorestown, Burlington County, Camden County, Moorestown Township, and all across New Jersey. Call 856-393-6073 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation about your discrimination case. Our main office is located at 68 E. Main Street Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.