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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My NJ Employer thinks pregnancy and breastfeeding are incompatible with work

It’s no news to working women that many NJ employers think pregnancy, breastfeeding, and motherhood in general are incompatible with furthering the company’s business goals. Women have legitimate fears that once they inform their employer that they are pregnant, that their employer will discriminate against them in terms of promotions, training, and being given the tools and opportunities that are essential to excel in their field. At a time when a working women can least afford to lose her job because there will soon be another member of her family to support, it is cruel and tragic to terminate her employment or deny her the opportunities to learn, receive training and opportunities to excel that are afforded to other employees. Not only NJ Employers wrongfully perceive pregnancy, breastfeeding, and motherhood as being  incompatible with a worker’s productivity level, this despicable attitude continues to exist all over the country. By way of example, last week, a California dietary company, who was sued for allegedly firing numerous female employees because they were pregnant and/or not allowing them to return to work after the employees went out on maternity leave, settled the matter by agreeing to pay the multiple victims $50,000.00 each and other relief.

This Law Office has litigated these types of pregnancy cases on behalf of both public and private business employees, both in Federal and State Court and obtained successful monetary results for clients.

It is even crueler when employers fire single pregnant women while unwed fathers are retained. Terminating a woman because she is pregnant and not married is a common practice by some employers, and the practice is not limited to white collar positions nor is it limited to those in lower paying jobs.

There are many things that a pregnant woman should know regarding laws that prohibit this type of discrimination. While many are aware that sex discrimination has long been prohibited under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, it may come as news to some that “pregnancy” is its own protected category under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by way of amendments to the statute that were added in January 2014.

New Jersey employers must provide employees who are pregnant or who are new mothers with specific protections such as “reasonable accommodations”. A big impact of the pregnancy amendments is employers now have a “should know” duty. An employer must give a female who has recently given birth, or who the employer knows or should know, is affected by pregnancy, reasonable accommodations.

Earlier this year, New Jersey breastfeeding employees gained new legal protection from job discrimination under state legislation signed into law which expanded the classes of persons protected from discrimination to specifically include workers who breastfeed. Employees who breastfeed and pregnant workers who anticipate returning to work after they give birth and who contemplate breastfeeding now are on par with other protected classes.

What You Can Do

If you believe that your New Jersey employer refused to make reasonable accommodations that would allow you to keep safely working or pump milk, or that your employer may have discriminated against you because of your pregnancy, treated you unfairly because of pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, or breastfeeding, it is important to consult with an aggressive and experienced New Jersey employment attorney. If you complained about such discrimination and your employer then retaliated against you, you may also have a claim for retaliation. I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing pregnant women, disabled women, women on FMLA leave and related issues. I accept discrimination cases from all over New Jersey. 

If you believe you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace discrimination or retaliation, please contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.

New Jersey employment law attorney Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.   

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