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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Pregnancy Discrimination at Work Can Be a Triple Bias in NJ

A worker who is pregnant and experiences a negative change in her employer’s attitude after disclosing her pregnancy to the employer, is experiencing three types of discrimination-sex, disability and pregnancy discrimination - rolled into one bias. If you are pregnant, protections for you exist under numerous federal and state laws. If your employer failed to renew your annual contract or terminated you after you disclosed to your employer that you are pregnant, or if upon returning from a pregnancy leave, your employer did not hold your job for you, you may be eligible for back pay, front pay and damages.

Until the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) was amended to specifically include “pregnancy” as its own protected class, lawyers bringing claims under the NJLAD had to allege sex and/or disability discrimination, because pregnancy at that time was not its own distinct class requiring protections.

Male workers who requested time off or a reasonable accommodation for a disability due to a medical condition related to their reproductive systems,  were frequently allowed a reasonable accommodation or time off for medical leave to properly deal with their disability, while  pregnant women who requested an accommodation that will allow them to maintain a healthy pregnancy, or who needed a reasonable accommodation while recovering from childbirth, were either terminated, or not had their annual contract renewed or otherwise removed from their positions based on bogus reasons given by the employer.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and Other Laws Protect Pregnant Women

The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant women regarding hiring, firing, compensation, job assignments, and other terms and conditions of employment.  Pregnant women who are temporarily unable to perform their jobs must also be treated no differently than other temporarily disabled workers. In addition, the PDA prohibits employers, supervisors, and coworkers from harassing women because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)which amended the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, and added "pregnancy" as its own specific protected class, went further than the PDA to protect women who are pregnant, have given birth or suffer a related medical condition. Under the PWFA, employers who not only know, but employers who should know, that a worker is pregnant can be held liable for treating that individual less favorably than other non-pregnant workers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act also has protections for women who suffer a medical condition related to their pregnancy or are temporarily partially disabled. Women who are temporarily unable to perform their jobs because of their pregnancy or their after-birth medical conditions, must also be treated no differently than other temporarily disabled workers.

Pregnant women or those experiencing medical conditions related to the pregnancy or birth also have protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In New Jersey, Pregnancy Discrimination Plaintiffs Can File Discrimination Lawsuits Sooner and Directly in State Superior Court rather than in Federal Court.

Pregnancy discrimination plaintiffs in New Jersey do not have to first exhaust time-consuming and tedious administrative ADA filings (under the Americans with Disabilities Act) before they are allowed to file a discrimination lawsuit.  Pregnancy Discrimination Plaintiffs in New Jersey also are not required to first file administratively and exhaust PDA remedies (under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act) before they are allowed to file a discrimination lawsuit. In New Jersey, pregnancy discrimination plaintiffs can file lawsuits sooner and directly in State Superior Court, under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

I have successfully filed discrimination lawsuits against public and private employers, including for teachers, and was successful in recovering money for pregnancy discrimination Plaintiffs.

What You Can Do

I am a compassionate and aggressive employment law attorney. If you believe you were the target of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, or feel your employer may have discriminated against you because of your pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, resulting in termination or a refusal to rehire, it is important to consult with an aggressive and experienced employment attorney. If you complained about such discrimination and your employer then retaliated against you, you may also have a claim for retaliation.

If you are being subjected to workplace discrimination, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout New Jersey, 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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