Chicago Discrimination Attorney Represents Clients Who Face Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy Discrimination in Illinois

Discrimination in the workplace remains a major issue within the area of employment law. There are numerous types of discrimination, including discrimination based on race and gender. However, pregnancy discrimination is another form that affects workers and employers across the state of Illinois. Our law office represents employees who face pregnancy discrimination, as well as employers who are wrongfully accused. Mitchell A. Kline is a Chicago discrimination lawyer who has spent the last 20 years handling discrimination law cases.

The Illinois Law

In January of 2015, the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) was amended to include pregnancy discrimination and accommodation amendments. These changes added several new requirements, which employers must incorporate into their respective workplace policies. Under the amendment, pregnancy is classified as a legally protected class, applying to individuals who are currently pregnant or recently gave birth. This provides protection from any adverse and discriminatory acts by employers against the party in relation to pregnancy or childbirth.

Among other regulations, the amendments require that employers provide the following accommodations:

  • Assignment to light duty work when appropriate;
  • Longer and more frequent bathroom breaks;
  • A private bathroom space for breastfeeding and milk expressing (Under the Illinois Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act, employers are required to provide a private room and not just a bathroom stall);
  • Increased breaks for water intake and rest periods;
  • Worksites that are physically accessible;
  • Modified work schedules, to include part time if appropriate;
  • Transfer of pregnant workers to less strenuous work positions; and
  • Adequate time off for recovery from pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions.

It’s important to note that employers may not force any accommodation on an employee who did not request it. In addition, the amendments also prohibit employers from forcing pregnant employees to take leave if a reasonable accommodation is available.

Job restoration is another vital aspect of the IHRA amendments. Unless an employer can make a successful showing of undue hardship, an employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth or pregnancy related medical condition must be reinstated to her original job or a position equivalent to the original job. This includes equivalent pay, seniority, fringe benefits and retirement.

Employers’ Rights

The amendment gives employers the right to request certain medical documentation about the pregnancy. However, the documentation request is limited to the following:

  • Medical justification for the requested work accommodation;
  • Description of medically advisable accommodations;
  • Advisable date to begin accommodation; and
  • Likely duration for the medical accommodation.

Proving Your Chicago Discrimination Case

When pregnancy discrimination allegations arise, you need an experienced Chicago employment law attorney to create an action strategy and navigate the court process. The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline represents pregnancy discrimination plaintiffs, as well as wrongly accused employers. Waste no time in contacting an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Time is of the essence in gathering evidence. Contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline today for a free consultation and review of your case.