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Working while Pregnant: What are Your Rights?

Working while Pregnant: What are Your Rights?

For many women, being pregnant is an amazing and exciting time. It is a sad reality that a time that should be filled with joy could be met with discrimination. If you are a pregnant employee, knowing and understanding your rights can help you better determine how you can protect yourself against unfair and unlawful treatment. Our Indianapolis employment lawyers explain your rights and when you can seek legal help to support you.

Protected Rights for Pregnant Employees

You can’t be fired for “safety reasons.”

When it comes to your safety and the safety of your child, only you and your doctor can decide what is best. Many employers can disguise discrimination with good intentions. It is not your employer’s decision to make whether working is unsafe or irresponsible during your pregnancy. At the end of the day, you cannot be fired for being pregnant. Period.

You can’t be rejected for a job for trying to get pregnant or wanting to get pregnant.

You still have rights regarding pregnancy even before you get pregnant. Some employers may not want to hire you if they know you are actively trying to get pregnant and might want to take time off so soon after getting hired. This, however, is an illegal reason not to hire someone.

You can’t be forced into taking a different job or time off.

If you are still able to do your job, you cannot be forced into doing something different or taking time off. If you enjoy working in your position and can perform the requirements of your job, you cannot be forced to do something you don’t want to. Again, this often occurs when an employer is concerned—or seemingly concerned—about your health or safety.

You cannot be fired for having an abortion or thinking of having an abortion.

Your rights to choosing against being pregnant are also protected. No matter whether your employer agrees with abortion (for ethical or religious reasons), he or she cannot terminate you for choosing or considering abortion. Many employers might think that their religious rights can take precedence in a situation like this, but they do not.

New mothers must be provided breaks and a safe place to pump breast milk.

When a woman is lactating, she cannot be discriminated against for it. Appropriate accommodations must be made, including time to pump breast milk and a private location to pump. The private location cannot be a bathroom. There are some exceptions to this, including for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and cannot make appropriate accommodations.

To learn more about your rights as a pregnant employee, contact our Indianapolis pregnancy discrimination attorneys today.

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