Delivering this news to your boss should not be a problem, but it is. About half of the workers in Illinois are women. The proportion is much higher in many professions. Additionally, 85% of working women become pregnant during their careers. So, a pregnant woman in the workplace is a common sight. But sharing this news with anyone, especially a boss, is difficult. The personal and professional fallout could be significant.
A good Chicago pregnancy discrimination lawyer does more than file post-discrimination claims. A good lawyer gives workers the tools they need to avoid this issue in the first place. Frankly, sometimes the direct approach works, and sometimes it doesn’t. If things go sideways, or you need additional information about your legal rights, we have got your back.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act contains no provisions in this area. The Family Medical Leave Act requires 30 days’ notice in most cases.
The PDA, and its state law cousin, the Illinois Human Rights Act, protect pregnant employees and would-be employees from adverse actions such as:
- Refusal to hire,
- Failure to provide reasonable accommodations,
- Denial of business opportunity,
- Refusal to promote, and
Failure to provide accommodations might be the most common form of pregnancy discrimination in Illinois. Some companies refuse to make adjustments for pregnant women. Others go overboard in the opposite direction. For example, if Sally is pregnant, her boss may transfer her to a lower-paying branch office position closer to her home. That move might be best for Sally and her baby, but that is not the point. Sally and her family, not Sally’s boss, get to make this decision.
The law is a bit unclear when the PDA protections apply. Generally, a pregnancy discrimination lawyer can file a successful legal claim if the plaintiff looked pregnant and/or told other people she was pregnant, even if she had not yet officially notified her boss.
Pregnant people should consider giving official notice to their bosses, as well as friends and family, after the first trimester. At this point, the physical symptoms become hard to hide, and many women experience anxiety if they try to hide it. Furthermore, the risk of miscarriage drops considerably after the first trimester.
Sharing the News
Notify your supervisors before coworkers. Bosses often react very negatively to this news if they hear it through the grapevine.
When you are ready to share the news, schedule a specific time to have a direct, one-on-one conversation. Before the meeting, do a little homework, as outlined below.
Start the meeting on a positive note. Do not make small talk first. Instead, immediately share the news and your expected due date. Next, show your boss you did your homework. Discuss your ideas for a handover plan, as well as some ideas about training a temporary or permanent replacement.
If possible, tell your supervisor if you need a temporary or permanent replacement. Bosses get upset if they find someone to hold down the fort for a few weeks and the new mon does not return. Confirm the details of your conversation in writing, via email, to ensure all parties are on the same page.
At the same time, do not keep it all business. Give your boss or manager an opportunity to celebrate this happy news with you.
Count on a Dedicated Cook County Attorney
A new baby means a new life and new work transitions. For a free consultation with an experienced pregnancy discrimination lawyer in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. Virtual, home, and after-hours visits are available.