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Preventing Pregnancy Discrimination Claims

 Posted on June 14, 2024 in Business Law

CT employment lawyerPregnant women who work are afforded a lot of legal protections in Connecticut. An employer who fails to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers or fires a pregnant worker without good cause unrelated to her pregnancy may face costly litigation. However, accommodating a pregnant employee who has a lot of restrictions or needs to take a long leave of absence due to complications can be difficult, especially for small companies with few employees. It is best for employers to have policies in place before the need to accommodate pregnant workers arises. A knowledgeable Metro New York Area employment law attorney can help you create set, lawful policies and navigate any situations that may arise.

Understanding Your Obligations Toward Pregnant Employees

As an employer, you must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees who need them. For example, if a pregnant woman’s doctor has instructed her to eat small meals every few hours due to severe nausea, a reasonable accommodation may be allowing her to have snacks at her desk or to take short breaks to eat throughout the day. You cannot require her to provide medical documentation of her need for accommodation.

An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it causes the employer undue hardship. For example, assume your employee’s main job duties are unloading supply trucks and restocking shelves. Her doctor tells her she cannot lift more than five pounds. Your employee cannot perform her job functions at all. Unless there is another position you can move her too easily, you may not be able to reasonably accommodate her restrictions.

You must also provide reasonable leaves of absence if your employee experiences a pregnancy-related disability and when she gives birth. For example, if your employee is placed on bed rest due to preeclampsia and cannot do her job from home, you would need to allow a leave of absence. When your employee has her baby, she is entitled to six weeks of maternity leave after a standard delivery or eight weeks if she has a surgical delivery.

You cannot force your employee to take a leave of absence if a reasonable accommodation can be made that would allow her to keep working. For example, say that your employees wear custom-made uniforms. Your uniform supplier does not offer maternity sizes. Instead of forcing your employee to take a leave of absence when she can no longer wear the uniform pants, you should allow her to wear her own pants in a color similar to the color of your uniform pants.

Contact a Greenwich, CT Employment Law Attorney

Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC is committed to helping employers navigate their responsibilities toward employees to avoid lawsuits and discrimination claims. Our reliable Metro New York Area employer representation lawyers have held numerous prestigious positions as lawmakers and leaders of attorney organizations. Contact us at 203-661-6000 for a complimentary consultation.

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