Making Work Accommodations for Pregnant Women

Is Your Employment Contract Up-to-date with Current Laws? Making work accommodations for a pregnant woman is something not all employers are aware of doing. In fact, a recent article entitled “More Parents than Ever Are Suing Their Employers for Discrimination–and Winning” gave an example of a municipality that was the subject of an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) claim for this reason. In 2017, a pregnant policewoman working for the Cromwell, Connecticut police force went to her police chief asking for accommodations due to her pregnancy. She was five months pregnant and provided information including a doctor’s note and a list of work she could do at a desk job. Her union representative accompanied her when she made the request. The chief’s response was that there would be no accommodation because it was not in the contract. The policewoman missed four months of work, filed a complaint through the EEOC and Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. A settlement was reached that reimbursed her wages and paid-time-off benefits lost during pregnancy. As part of the settlement, the police force also agreed to incorporate policies that would protect future pregnant employees. Be Aware of NY State Guidelines and Work Accommodations for Pregnant Women New York Human Rights Law specifically requires that employers must reasonably accommodate the medical needs of employees with disabilities, including temporary disabilities. Pregnancy related disabilities fall under the category of temporary disabilities. In addition, any restrictions that a medical doctor advises for a pregnant woman triggers the employer’s obligation to accommodate the woman based on the NY Human Rights Law. Accommodations would include: Worksite accessibility Acquisition...

Wal-Mart’s Alleged Pregnancy Discrimination Makes the Headlines

  A proposed lawsuit against Wal-Mart is a class action that claims the company has discriminated against pregnant workers by denying requests to restrict heavy lifting, making them climb on ladders and making them do other potentially harmful tasks. Details about the Pregnancy Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit According to Reuters two claimants, Otisha Woolbright and Talisha Borders, filed the lawsuit in a federal court in Illinois. The class would include 20,000 women and before the company’s policy changed, an estimated 50,000 women. The lawsuit is based on the American Disabilities Act (ADA), and the argument is that Wal-Mart did not extend the same accommodations to pregnant women as it did to other disabled workers. In 2014, Wal-Mart changed its company policy and began treating pregnancy as a disability. A Wal-Mart spokesman stated that Wal-Mart has always abided by federal law and addressed pregnancy as a protected class. In a U.S. Supreme Court 2015 decision that involved the United Parcel Service, the court ruled that employers must treat pregnant women the same as other workers with disabilities or medical conditions. The claimants’ lawyers’ argue that the Wal-Mart policy did not adequately address the issue. Case Details about the Claimants Otisha Woolbright claimed when she worked in a Florida Wal-Mart, her manager told her that pregnancy was not an excuse to get out of doing heavy lifting. She claims that after she injured herself living trays that weighed as much as 50 pounds and after she asked further about the company’s pregnancy policies, the store fired her. Tallish Borders worked at an Illinois Wal-Mart. She claims she was reprimanded for having...

What Should HR Reps and Employers Know About Pregnant Workers?

Pregnancy Discrimination: New York City & Queens Labor & Employment Attorneys Is it a good idea to ask a job applicant whether or not she is pregnant? No. As long as a pregnant woman has the job qualifications to do the work, pregnancy is irrelevant. If you ask about pregnancy during a job interview, and the applicant gets the idea you didn’t hire her because she’s pregnant, you could face a discrimination lawsuit. Here’s a recent case that involved pregnancy discrimination. The Sefa Wellness Center, a medical practice that specializes in cosmetic skin treatments, employed April Raines as a skin specialist. Two days after informing the company owner she was pregnant, the employer fired her. When giving the reason for termination, the employer said it was because she had deceived the company by failing to disclose her pregnancy during the hiring interview. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination in hiring or job termination due to pregnancy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) attempted to settle with Sefa on behalf of April Raines through its pre-litigation conciliation process. When the attempt failed, it filed a lawsuit against the company. Sefa settled out of court for $37,000. The settlement included stipulations that Sefa provide equal opportunity training for management along with reporting requirements and posting of anti-discrimination notices in the workplace. If you own your own company, you should also know that it’s illegal to deny pregnancy leaves and it’s illegal not to accommodate pregnant workers who can’t do heavy lifting or need lighter forms of work because of their medical conditions. There are many employment laws involved with running...