Laws protecting pregnant employees


Protection against discrimination in employment extends to all aspects of the employment relationship, from the recruitment and selection process, through all the various aspects of the working relationship, to the termination of the employment. Employment includes full-time work, part-time work, volunteer work, student internships, special employment programs, probationary employment, [95] and temporary or contract work. These rights may overlap with Code protections, or may provide additional protections. It is important to remember that these pieces of legislation have purposes that may differ from those of the Code , and are aimed at providing minimum standards only. The Code has primacy over provincial legislation. This means that where there is a conflict between rights under the Code and rights under the other provincial legislation, the Code takes precedence unless the legislation specifically states otherwise.



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Laws protecting pregnant employees

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WATCH RELATED VIDEO: Common Misconceptions About Pregnant Workers' Rights

Parental leave


Discuss with your employer any changes that need to be made so you can work safely during your pregnancy. Common ways to accommodate pregnant employees include more breaks, different start and finish times, provision of a car space, ensuring employees can have toilet breaks as needed and a chair to sit on if the job usually involves standing up for long periods of time.

While employees do not generally have to notify their employer that they are pregnant, there may be health and safety reasons to do so. All people in the workforce have a duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and to comply, so far as they are reasonably able to, with any reasonable instruction given by their employer to allow their employer to comply with their work health and safety obligations.

Written notification to your employer as early as possible is advisable for higher-risk jobs e. You may need to notify your employer to access certain employee entitlements.

For example, if you have worked for your employer for at least 12 months before the date of birth or expected date of birth of your child and you are planning on taking unpaid parental leave under the Fair Work Act, you must, if practicable, tell your employer at least 10 weeks before the intended start date of the leave that you plan to take this leave.

See Employees and leave which deals with requesting and going on unpaid parental leave under the Fair Work Act. Your employer should only ask you if you are pregnant in certain circumstances. If, for example, your employer suspects that you are pregnant and there are genuine work health and safety concerns if you continue in your usual role, your employer may ask you in order to make reasonably practicable adjustments to your current role.

They should provide information about the risks they think may need to be addressed. It may be inappropriate if your employer asks if you are pregnant and there are no genuine work health and safety concerns. If your workplace poses special risks to pregnant workers, your employer should provide information about those risks to the workforce.

This should help you work out when to notify your pregnancy to your employer for work health and safety reasons. Most employers will be happy that you are pregnant but they may also feel under pressure and wonder what your pregnancy means for the organisation and the work that needs to be done.

The best way to handle a negative response is to set aside time to discuss any changes that might need to be made to your work activities and any leave you wish to take.

It may help to refer to workplace policies. You could also consider giving your manager a few days to get used to the idea before you have a detailed conversation. Make sure you are clear about how you want the announcement of your pregnancy to be made to the rest of the organisation.

Remember that even if your manager or another staff member has a negative response, there might be other people in the organisation who will be able to discuss your needs with you.

Perhaps another employee you trust, someone in Human Resources or a union representative. This could amount to discrimination. If this does not resolve the situation, or you do not feel comfortable doing this, you can make a complaint. You may experience a variety of physical effects such as tiredness and nausea during certain stages of your pregnancy.

While this is unlikely to prevent you from performing your work, you may require some changes to your job or work environment. You should have a conversation with your employer about the changes that can be made so that you can keep doing your job. Most of the time you and your manager will be able to find a solution and you will be able to continue safely doing your job with a few changes. Under work health and safety laws, businesses must do what is reasonably practicable to ensure the health and safety of all their workers - including those who are pregnant.

Employers must be prepared to consult on possible options to find appropriate solutions. You have the right to cease or refuse to carry out work, if you have a reasonable concern that carrying out the work would expose you to a serious risk to your health or safety due to an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard. Under anti-discrimination laws, employers should consider all reasonable options for accommodating the needs of pregnant employees and be prepared to discuss these options with you to find individual solutions.

Common ways to accommodate pregnant employees include more breaks, different start and finish times, provision of a car space, ensuring employees can have toilet breaks when needed and a chair to sit on if the job usually involves standing up for long periods of time.

If your employer does not provide reasonable accommodations, this may be discrimination. Under the Fair Work Act,all pregnant employees, including casuals, are entitled to move to a safe job if it is not safe for them to do their usual job because of their pregnancy. This includes employees that are not eligible for unpaid parental leave. An employee who moves to a safe job will still get the same pay rate, hours of work and other entitlements that she got in her usual job.

She and her employer can however agree on different working hours. This leave is:. You must give your employer notice of the taking of unpaid special maternity leave as soon as practicable which may be a time after the leave has started and must advise your employer of the period, or expected period, of the leave. Your employer can ask for evidence such as a medical certificate showing that the leave is taken for the prescribed reason. The use of special maternity leave does not reduce the amount of unpaid parental leave under the Fair Work Act that you can take.

Some awards, agreements or workplace policies specifically allow personal leave to be used to attend prenatal medical appointments. If your employer allows access to paid or unpaid leave for other purposes, to meet their obligations under anti-discrimination laws, they should afford pregnant employees the same flexibility in regard to attending prenatal medical appointments.

If you are undergoing fertility treatments, such as IVF or assisted reproductive technology, you are covered by the Sex Discrimination Act. This means you cannot be disadvantaged or treated less favourably than other employees. If your pregnancy is one of the reasons why your supervisor is treating you unfavourably, for example, refusing to let you go on training or not considering you for a promotion, this may be discrimination under, for example, the Sex Discrimination Act.

You should approach your employer informally and try to solve the problems directly. A good way to do this is to discuss with your employer your concerns or write your employer an email or letter. If this does not resolve the issue or you feel uncomfortable raising the issues directly with your employer, you can bring a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. You may also have rights under other legislation, e. Provided that you have completed at least 12 months of continuous service with your employer immediately before the expected date of birth of your child, you are entitled to a period of unpaid special maternity leave.

You may also access other forms of accrued paid leave such as annual leave or long service leave. If the period of unpaid parental leave under the Fair Work Act has not commenced and the pregnancy ends other than in the birth of a live child. If the period of unpaid parental leave has commenced and the pregnancy ends due to still birth, or the child dies. You can give your employer written notice that you wish to return to work and your employer must give you written notice requiring you to return to work on a specified day which must be within 4 weeks after your employer receives your written notice.

Also, your employer may, where appropriate, give you written notice requiring you to return to work on a specified day which must be at least 6 weeks after your employer gives you their written notice. The complainant was employed in a medical related position. She alleged that her employer offered her a promotion which was conditional on the outcome of a medical assessment.

The complainant claimed her employer revoked the offer when she disclosed she was pregnant. On being advised of the complaint her employer reinstated the offer of promotion. The complaint was resolved on this basis. Please note that the complainant could have chosen to bring her complaint to another organisation rather than to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Privacy Policy Disclaimer. Skip to the content Skip to navigation Skip to search. Main commission site. Supporting Working Parents. For employees. Secondary menu Quick Guide for Employees Understanding the law Working while pregnant or potentially pregnant Employees and leave Returning to work from leave Commencing and ending employment Assistance and making a complaint.

Share page Twitter Facebook. Working while pregnant or potentially pregnant. Key points Being pregnant does not mean that you cannot continue to make a valuable contribution to the business. It is against the law to discriminate against you because you are pregnant. You and your employer should discuss any changes that need to be made so that your workplace is safe for you while you are pregnant. You have a duty to take reasonable care for your own health and safety and to comply, so far as you are reasonably able to, with any reasonable instructions relating to health and safety in the workplace.

Top Tip Discuss with your employer any changes that need to be made so you can work safely during your pregnancy. Example Australian Human Rights Commission case study - complaint under the Sex Discrimination Act The complainant was employed in a medical related position.

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Los Angeles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

New York law protects pregnant women from workplace discrimination. If your employer has broken the law, we can help you assert your rights and seek compensation for your losses. New York state law protects pregnant women from discrimination in many ways. Beginning with the hiring process, employers cannot discriminate against pregnant women by not offering them a job, promotion, or other benefits solely because they are pregnant.

Protection from discrimination An employee can't be discriminated against because they're pregnant. This means that an employee can't be fired, demoted or.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

States and municipalities around the country are increasingly providing more protection for pregnant employees. As recently as April , San Francisco became the first municipality to enact fully paid parental leave for up to six full weeks. The Act therefore expands similar protections under federal law. No related disability is necessary beyond the fact of pregnancy itself. For example, an employee who has difficulty sitting for extended periods of time because of her pregnancy may require an accommodation under the Colorado Act, even if she would not be afforded such an accommodation under the ADA. The Act provides a number of possible accommodations for employers to consider. They include more frequent or longer break periods; more frequent restroom, food, and water breaks; acquisition or modification of equipment or seating; limitations of lifting; temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, if available; job restructuring; light duty, if available; assistance with manual labor; or modified work schedules.


Pregnancy accommodations at work

laws protecting pregnant employees

The short answer is no. You cannot be fired for being pregnant under most circumstances. Generally, employers cannot treat pregnant women any differently than other workers who have medical conditions that affect their jobs. Keep reading below to learn the 10 overall pregnancy-related rights in the workplace.

For women who have suffered a miscarriage, you may have need to take time off for recovery. If you need changes at work to stay healthy on the job, the laws below can help.

House Passes Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Have you been informed by your employer that you will not have a job when you return from your pregnancy leave? Was your job eliminated while on you were out on maternity leave? Have you not been provided the same leave benefits for your pregnancy as other disabled workers are provided by your employer? Have you returned to work from a pregnancy leave of absence and are now being marginalized as a result of taking the leave? If so, you may be the victim of pregnancy discrimination and should call to speak to our employment attorneys to investigate and help you to determine whether you have an actionable claim. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual in terms, conditions or privileges of employment on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or sex.


What Are My Rights as a Pregnant Employee in California?

The passion, the knowledge, the dedication. The best employment firm, period. Call , schedule a call , or fill out this form and we will get back to you ASAP. Please leave this field empty. The laws surrounding pregnancy and maternity leave are often misunderstood and in some cases, completely disregarded. Similar to the laws laid out in the Family and Medical Leave Act, the laws governing and preventing pregnancy discrimination are there for the protection of the woman and her family.

During pregnancy and parental leave, the ESA protects the employee's right to for negotiating collective agreements that comply with human rights laws.

Pregnant Worker Accommodations

By James L. Young , Megan P. Toth , and Craig B. Seyfarth Synopsis : Employers must evaluate their safety protections for pregnant women and engage in the interactive process with employees to find reasonable accommodations.


According to the U. Department of Labor DOL , almost 47 percent of workers in the nation are women. Many of these women will become pregnant at least once during their working years. Historically, pregnant women have been subjected to unwarranted harassment and discrimination by their employers. Fortunately, both federal and state laws exist to help pregnant employees fight back for their rights.

Discuss with your employer any changes that need to be made so you can work safely during your pregnancy. Common ways to accommodate pregnant employees include more breaks, different start and finish times, provision of a car space, ensuring employees can have toilet breaks as needed and a chair to sit on if the job usually involves standing up for long periods of time.

Closed on all national holidays. Pregnancy discrimination happens when an employer makes an employment decision based on your pregnancy or intent to become pregnant and not your skills, qualifications, or how well you do your job. Federal law protects many workers from being discriminated against based on pregnancy. If you work for or apply for a job with an employer that has 15 or more employees , federal law does not allow the employer to base employment decisions on the fact that you are or intend to become pregnant. New York State and New York City human rights laws cover more cases, and they apply to more employers. As of February 8, , New York State law prohibits all employers, regardless of size , from making hiring, firing, or other employment decisions based on pregnancy.

Pregnant women may be passed over for promotions, have their hours cut, or even terminated because they are, or might become, pregnant. New and expecting mothers have many things to worry about, but job security and pregnancy discrimination should not be one of them. A patchwork of federal, state, and local laws protects women from discrimination during and after pregnancy and provides opportunities for leave paid and unpaid as well. Under these laws, employers cannot reduce your hours or benefits, demote or terminate you, or fail to hire you because you are pregnant.


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