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Can your employer fire you because of pregnancy limitations?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2022 | Employment Law |

Pregnancy puts a lot of demands on a woman’s body. She will need to change how she eats and eliminate certain possible risk factors that could endanger her baby. Especially if a woman has high risk for certain complications, if she is pregnant with multiple babies or if she is in the final weeks of her pregnancy, she may be subject to limitations regarding what job functions she can perform.

Although some women can do their job up until they go into labor, others may need to limit what they lift, keep off of their feet or even commit to bed rest. Can your employer fire you from your job because of your medical restrictions related to your pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a protected medical condition

There are several federal employment laws that extend certain protections to pregnant women and new mothers. Pregnancy is a medical condition that qualifies for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). New mothers and those subject to medical restrictions may also qualify for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Sometimes, women who work for companies that are very small or women who have recently taken a new position may not have as many legal protections as those who have been with the same business for years or who work for bigger companies.

However, pregnant women should generally be able to ask for reasonable accommodations, such as changes to their job responsibilities, during their pregnancy. Asking for time off to recover after birth and expecting to move back into the same position after a leave of absence should both be options for pregnant women.

Pregnancy discrimination hurts new families

A woman who has just had a child or who is in the final months of pregnancy will have a difficult time securing a new job. Additionally, she will have a lot of financial pressure to provide for herself and her new child.

An employer that fires a woman during her pregnancy because the company won’t accommodate her symptoms have potentially engaged in an act of actionable pregnancy discrimination. Women who have lost their jobs or who had to perform unsafe job responsibilities because their employer would not meet them halfway may potentially have grounds for a claim against their employer.

Recognizing pregnancy discrimination as the source of your career hardship might motivate you to take action against the company.