Recognizing Pregnancy Discrimination

If you’re a woman in the workplace and considering having a baby soon, currently pregnant, or recently gave birth, make sure you’re knowledgeable on your rights related to pregnancy. Pregnancy discrimination is when the workplace treats you unfavorably because of anything related to pregnancy. It extends to both employees and job applicants and can include pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Luckily, there are a few laws both federally and in New Jersey that can help.


Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination

If any of these questions below apply to you, you might have a pregnancy discrimination case against your employer. Have you been informed by your employer that you will not have a job when you return from your pregnancy leave? Was your job eliminated while you were out on maternity leave? Have you not been provided the same leave benefits for your pregnancy as other disabled workers are provided by your employer? If your workplace refuses to hire you or fires you because you are pregnant, that is a form of pregnancy discrimination. Some other examples include verbal harassment creating a hostile environment and refusing to provide reasonable accommodations (like for pumping breastmilk).

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, or PDA, “forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.” If you were unable to complete your job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy, your employer must give you alternative assignments, disability leave, or something related. They are supposed to treat you like they would any other temporary disabled employee, and if they don’t, it is unlawful. 


The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination “prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual in terms, conditions or privileges of employment on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or sex.” If an employer refuses to continue your employment because you’re pregnant, this would violate the New Jersey law. It is against New Jersey law to also involuntary transfer a pregnant woman to another position or require them to begin a leave before they requested it. Pregnant women in New Jersey might also be protected under the New Jersey Family Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. These laws guarantee job protection for having to take a leave of absence due to pregnancy, childbirth, or adoption.

Steps to Take if this Happens to You

If you believe you have been a victim of pregnancy discrimination, be sure to file a formal complaint in your workplace and contact a lawyer. This should never happen in the workplace and I’m here to help you make sure you get the benefits you deserve. I’m a New Jersey attorney that focuses on workplace discrimination. To learn more, visit my website: .