What You Should Expect From Your Employer When You're Expecting

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Contributed by Jenna Fogleman, Associate Attorney.

Pregnancy brings out a lot of different emotions in everyone. Fear of losing your job with no recourse because of pregnancy or childbirth should not have to be one of them.

Laws are in place to protect women from discrimination related to current pregnancy, childbirth, potential pregnancy, past pregnancy, or pregnancy-related medical conditions. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), as well as Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act protects certain rights a female has while pregnant. Under the PDA, an employer cannot discriminate against you just because you are pregnant or affected by pregnancy-related conditions. The PDA forbids discrimination for many aspects of employment, including, but not limited to job assignments, promotions, firing, and pay.

Additional protections may be available under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Although FMLA does not apply to all employers or employees, if applicable, it requires a covered employer to grant medical leave to an eligible employee for pregnancy or the birth of a child. The mother can use leave during birth, prenatal care, incapacity related to pregnancy, and/or a serious health condition following the birth of a child. FMLA also offers the other parent leave during the birth of a child and to care for their spouse who may be incapacitated due to pregnancy or child birth. FMLA also protects an employee from discrimination or retaliation for having exercised or attempted to exercise their leave rights.

To reduce outside stresses related to your employment, be aware of your rights both before and after having your child. If you have questions or believe you have suffered an adverse employment action, contact one of our employment law attorneys at (479) 621-0006.

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