Women have been treated unfairly in their workplaces due to pregnancy for decades. Federal, state, and local laws have all been put into place to help combat this, but unfortunately, it still happens. Women in Illinois are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) under federal law and the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation amendments to Illinois state laws.
These laws state that employees and applicants for jobs cannot be discriminated against based on their pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. These laws apply to all parts of employment including hiring, pay, promotions, benefits, and firing. Unfortunately, the PDA laws are only applicable to employers who have 15 or more employees. Rights under the IPA apply to all employers with one or more employees.
Accommodations for Pregnant Mothers
Illinois requires employers to give all new and expectant mothers certain accommodations. Pregnant mothers are also not required to take the accommodations if they did not request them. Accommodations may include the following:
- Lifting limits
- Access to sitting areas
- Private spaces for breastfeeding
- Water breaks
- Time off to recover from childbirth
In addition, mothers who are breastfeeding must be allowed to take breaks for breastfeeding, whether taken from existing paid break time or unpaid.
Know and Understand Your Rights
If you think that you have been the victim of discrimination due to your pregnancy, childbirth, or other related condition, it is important that you know your rights and legal options for recourse. Here are some ways that you may begin your approach to the situation.
- Write everything down. When you are upset and frustrated, it is easy to forget details. Write down everything that happened, what was said, and who was involved. If the conversations occurred in text or email, be sure to save them.
- Have a discussion. Arrange a conversation between you and either your supervisor or a person in human resources. As about the company’s policy regarding pregnancy and other related conditions.
- Speak with your co-workers. If you have other co-workers who are pregnant or have been recently, ask them how they were treated. If the discrimination has happened to more than just you, they might offer support and work with you to confront the problem.
- File a formal complaint. Use the appropriate channels to file a formal complaint through your human resources department, supervisor, or union.
- Do not wait. If you wait to long to file the complaint, you may lose your right to file it, so know the deadlines. In most cases, you only have 180 days after the discrimination occurred to take action.
- Contact an attorney. If you think that you have been discriminated against, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.
Contact an Illinois Discrimination Attorney Today
If you feel that you have been discriminated against due to your pregnancy or related condition, you have the right to take action. The challenges associated with pregnancy such as discomfort and morning sickness are enough without having to deal with an employer who is breaking the law. Contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline and schedule a consultation today. He will review your case and help ensure that you are treated the way you deserve.