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Chicago Pregnancy Discrimination

Chicago Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make it illegal to discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace. This law protects pregnant women from all types of discrimination and retaliation, such as wrongful termination, harassment, and denial of access to short term disability pay if it is offered to other employees.

A Pregnant Woman’s Rights in the Workplace

Pregnant employees have the same rights as other employees at work, including:

  • The right to file discrimination claims if they feel they have faced discrimination;
  • The right to file retaliation claims if they face unfair treatment or discrimination after filing a discrimination claim;
  • The right to take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a newborn; and
  • The right to request reasonable accommodations to make their workspaces and schedules more comfortable, just like disabled employees can.

Reasonable accommodations in the workplace are any changes that do not create an undue burden on the company or its other employees. They can include:

  • Flexibility in scheduling to allow for doctor appointments and managing physical limits;
  • Changes to the work uniform or relaxation of the dress code to permit maternity wear;
  • Reassigning job tasks so the pregnant employee does not have to perform physically stressful labor or face exposure to toxic chemicals; and
  • Creating a more comfortable workspace, which can mean sitting when one would normally stand at work.

Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination

In addition to denying a pregnant woman the accommodation she seeks, pregnancy discrimination can mean:

  • Wrongfully terminating a pregnant employee;
  • Refusing to hire or promote a pregnant candidate;
  • Refusing to permit a pregnant employee to take advantage of employment benefits offered to other employees, like short term disability leave;
  • Harassing a pregnant employee; and
  • Excluding a pregnant employee from trainings, seminars, and other career advancement opportunities.

What to Do When you Face Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

Document everything you experience. This means printing out emails and other messages, transcribing voicemails, keeping copies of offers and other official communications between you and your supervisor, and documentation of any harassment or other face-to-face mistreatment you experience with its date, time, and context. These are pieces of evidence you can use to support a pregnancy discrimination claim.

If you cannot make the discrimination stop through your supervisor or Human Resources department, work with an experienced employment lawyer to pursue a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

Do not stand by and allow yourself to continue being victimized at work. If you faced pregnancy discrimination at the hands of your employer or colleagues, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline today to set up your initial free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer. During your consultation, we will review your evidence and experiences to determine the most effective way to proceed with your claim.