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Why Congress Needs to Pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Pregnant workers face unique challenges in the workplace. Often pregnant workers are subjected to harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination.

There are several laws on the books right now that can be used to protect the rights of pregnant workers, such as:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. While pregnancy is not classified as a disability within the ADA, pregnancy-related conditions are covered by the 2008 ADA amendments, including hypertension, severe nausea, sciatica and gestational diabetes.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA prohibits discrimination based on  pregnancy and requires employers to treat pregnant workers no worse than non-pregnant workers. That means if an employer makes an accommodation for a non-pregnant worker,  such as allowing an older cashier to sit on a stool, the employer must allow a pregnant cashier to sit on a stool as well.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn. It also enables workers to take unpaid medical leave for serious pregnancy related health conditions.

But more can be done. According to a recent report by the National Women’s Law Center and A Better Balance, pregnant workers are often fired or forced to take unpaid leave when their requests for workplace accommodations are either ignored or denied. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, currently pending in Congress, would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers so long as doing so would not impose an undue hardship on the employer. That is the same standard that presently exists under the ADA for disabled employees.

If you have suffered workplace discrimination or were terminated because of your pregnancy or recent childbirth, you may have a legal claim against your employer. Speak to a pregnancy discrimination lawyer to learn what your rights and remedies are.

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Neil H. Deutsch
Senior Partner

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey’s premier practitioners of employment and civil litigation. He has been selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers prestigious list every year since 2005.  This honor, bestowed upon a recipient by the votes of his peers, is a powerful nod to the skill Mr. Atkins…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a…

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Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins, PC in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins, PC, Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA, New…

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Debra M. McGarvey
Attorney

About Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the Americans…

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