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 Pregnancy Discrimination
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. An employer who refuses to continue the employment of a woman because of a pregnancy, delivery of a child or complications that arise from a pregnancy is liable for sex or gender discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. A pregnant woman is entitled to the same rights and disability leave as employees disabled for other reasons. An employer may not discriminate against a pregnant employee by not allowing her to use accumulated sick leave during the period of temporary disability when it can be used for any other period of absence due to physical disability.
It is against New Jersey law to:
- Terminate an employee because they are pregnant and despite the fact that they can perform the essential functions of the job;
- Refuse to hire a pregnant woman because they are likely to become pregnant;
- Involuntary transfer a pregnant woman to another position because the pregnancy;
- Require a pregnant employee to begin a leave before the employee wanted to begin the leave despite the fact that they can perform the essential functions of the job
The New Jersey Department of Civil Rights has stated that a pregnant woman is entitled to work as long as she is able to perform her job. When she is no longer able to work, she should receive the same consideration given to those taking disability leave. When she returns from disability leave she is entitled to the same seniority, benefits, etc. as well as a comparable position if similarly disabled employees are entitled to the same rights and benefits.
New Jersey law mandates that employers treat pregnant women the same as other employees who have disabilities. This includes treating employees with the pregnancy related medical conditions be given the same rights and privileges as an employee with a disability, including leaves of absence, modified job duties, light duty and alternative work assignments. An employer is prohibited from forcing a pregnant employee to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant and instead must permit her to work as long as she is able to perform the essential functions of the job.
Pregnant woman may also have protected leave rights under the New Jersey Family Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. These statutes provide guarantee job protection for eligible employees to take a leave of absence from work as a result of a pregnancy, child birth or adoption.
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your pregnancy, please send us an e-mail to schedule a consultation with an experienced employment law attorney.