Helping Residents of Chicago and Throughout Illinois Protect Their Right
to Work While Pregnant
It is illegal to fire someone because they are pregnant. The tougher issue
is showing that the termination was actually because of the pregnancy.
Sometimes employers will make up a reason because they know that it is
illegal to fire someone because they are pregnant.
Furthermore, women who are pregnant cannot be adversely affected by work
policies based on their pregnancy, childbirth, or associated conditions.
Pregnancy discrimination may occur in various situations, including:
Request your complimentary case review with one of our Naperville lawyers
(630) 364-4061 today.
What Does Illinois Do to Discourage Pregnancy Discrimination?
Employers may not implement policies that are outright discriminatory against
pregnant women. An employer may not discharge or refuse to hire or promote
a woman because she is pregnant. However, an employer is further prohibited
from implementing policies that discriminate against pregnant women even
if those policies benefit the employee. For example, employers may not
establish mandatory maternity leave that is unrelated to the employee’s
ability to work and employers may not prohibit the employee from returning
to work for a predetermined period following childbirth.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has deemed
pregnancy discrimination a growing problem. As such, the EEOC recently
issued guidance on pregnancy discrimination in the workplace that requires
“pregnant employees to be treated the same as non-pregnant employees,”
and requires accommodations to be provided to pregnant employees that
is of equal accommodations provided to non-pregnant employees.
Thus, because a pregnant female employee must be treated just as another
temporarily disabled employee would be treated, an employer must make
reasonable accommodations to allow the employee to perform modified job
duties or an alternative work assignment. If neither a modification of
job duties or an alternative work assignment is not sufficient, the employer
may need to allow the employee to take disability leave or unpaid leave
as it would for other employees. Aside from the aforementioned, the Family
and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) adds additional protections
to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
In particular, the FMLA provides for additional rights for break times
when nursing and allows pregnant employees who meet certain conditions
to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for:
Serious health conditions
Taking care of a sick child or family member
It is ultimately unlawful for an employer to differentiate between pregnancy
related and other disabilities. Employees who are or were pregnant and
feel they are being or have been discriminated against due to their pregnancy
should discuss their circumstances with an attorney. Our firm can help
employees investigate the merits of their case, investigate whether discrimination
Additional Protections for Pregnant Employees in Illinois
Illinois passed a law (PA 98-1050) requiring that employers of any size
make reasonable accommodations arising out of pregnancy. The law relates
to accommodations while the employee is pregnant, recovering from childbirth,
and if the employee is having common medical conditions associated with
Employers must provide reasonable accommodations unless the employer can
show an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations are reasonable, temporary
changes that let an individual do the essential functions of a job while
pregnant or recovering from childbirth. Employers cannot retaliate against
an employee who requests a reasonable accommodation.
In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Human Rights processes employment
Under federal law, the EEOC enforces the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
Notably, the EEOC regards inquiry into whether an applicant intends to
become pregnant as evidence of employment discrimination.
For detailed information on how our lawyers can help you with your unique
(630) 364-4061 today.