Helping Victims Of Pregnancy Discrimination
Federal and state laws protect women from the risk of losing a job as a result of having a child. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, in other words pregnancy discrimination.
Simply stated, an employer may not terminate an employee or refuse to hire a person because of her pregnancy. By law, there are a number of other responsibilities on the part of employers as it relates to pregnancy:
- A pregnant worker cannot be forced to take a leave of absence as long as she can perform her job.
- A pregnant worker must be given the same health, disability, and sick leave benefits as any other employee who has a medical condition.
- A woman who takes a leave of absence due to pregnancy and childbirth must have her position at work held open for the same length of time that jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave.
- Unmarried pregnant women must receive the same benefits as married pregnant women.
In addition, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law requires employers to provide unpaid leave of absence not to exceed four months to employees who are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The requirements regarding pregnancy discrimination stipulated in this act cover employers with more than 25 employees for 20 or more weeks within the current or preceding calendar years.
An Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney Who Doesn’t Back Down
At the law office of Robert B. Landry III PLC, in Baton Rouge, we protect the rights of individuals who are victims of workplace discrimination, including any wrongdoing by an employer as a result of an employee being pregnant.
Attorney Landry understands the protections provided to workers by federal and state laws. He uses his experience working with clients on employment law matters and his knowledge of the approach taken in these cases by “the other side” to build strong cases for employees.
Our law firm seeks the full amount of compensation and penalties in discrimination cases that are allowed by law. We often reach an agreement without the need to litigate, but if a fair agreement cannot be reached, we are always prepared to advocate aggressively in court for our clients.
Am I Entitled to Maternity Leave in Louisiana?
Depending on the size of your employer, yes. The Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law requires all employers with more than 25 employees to provide unpaid maternity leave for up to 6 weeks for regular pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions. If you are disabled by one of these conditions, or if your pregnancy is disabling, then you are entitled to up to 4 months of maternity leave.
In addition, if you are eligible under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), then you can take 12 work weeks of unpaid leave each year. To be eligible for FMLA, you must have 12 months of employment and 1250 hours worked in a given year. Your employer must have 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of your workplace, unless an exception applies. While you are on maternity leave, you must be provided the same health benefits as you were while working. If your employer refuses to offer leave, a New Orleans employment lawyer can help you determine your rights.
Can My Boss Fire or Demote Me After I Return from Maternity Leave?
No. Both Louisiana and federal law prohibits pregnancy discrimination, which includes firing or demoting an employee who takes maternity leave. Under FMLA, you have a right to return to the same or a substantially similar position once your maternity leave is over, without a reduction in pay.
Despite these laws, some employers still discriminate against pregnant people. If you believe that your employer has treated you illegally because of your pregnancy, you may be able to file a claim against them. A Baton Rouge pregnancy discrimination lawyer can analyze your situation and advise you of your rights.
Does My Employer Have to Accomodate My Pregnancy?
Yes. Employers in Louisiana with 25 or more employees have a duty to reasonably accommodate an employee’s physical limitations caused by pregnancy. Previously, employers only had to provide specific accommodations, such as a transfer to a less strenuous position or a leave of absence. “Reasonable accommodation” may include the following:
- Making existing facilities used by covered employees readily accessible and
- Modifying schedules and compensated breaks or food/drink policies.
- Allowing more frequent sitting.
- Providing assistance with manual labor and lifting limits
- Temporary transfers to a less strenuous or hazardous vacant position, if
- Job restructuring or light duty where available;
- Acquiring or modifying equipment necessary for performing essential job
Under Louisiana law, employers must provide a reasonable accommodation unless doing so would cause undue hardship. The employer is supposed to provide you with written notice of these rights and post them in the place of business. If your employer refuses to accommodate your pregnancy, reach out to a New Orleans pregnancy discrimination lawyer to schedule a consultation.
Is Pregnancy a Protected Class?
Yes. Under both the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and Louisiana law, pregnancy is a protected class. This means that your employer cannot discriminate against you for being pregnant.
Importantly, these laws do not apply to all employers. Louisiana law covers only applies to employers with 25 or more employees, while the PDA applies to companies with 15 or more workers. Contact a Louisiana pregnancy discrimination attorney to learn more about your rights under these laws.
Meet With Us to Get Your Questions Answered
Dads are guaranteed unpaid time away from work following the birth of a child under guidelines of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Contact us if you have been unfairly treated by your employer as a result of you or your partner giving birth.
If you have questions regarding actions taken by an employer in regard to pregnancy, call us or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting. An experienced employment law lawyer will review the facts of your case and recommend the best course of action.
We work with clients in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, and throughout central and south Louisiana.