Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers in Naperville and Chicago

Protecting Pregnant Workers in Chicago and Illinois

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:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Wages
  • Job assignments
  • Promotions
  • Training
  • Benefits

Request your complimentary case review with one of our Naperville & Chicago lawyers by calling (630) 364-4061 today.

Pregnancy Discrimination Laws in Illinois

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.

Employers in Illinois may not:

  • Implement policies that are outright discriminatory against pregnant women
  • Discharge or refuse to hire or promote a woman because she is pregnant
  • Establish mandatory maternity lave unrelated to the employee’s ability to work
  • Prohibit the employee from returning to work for a predetermined period following childbirth

It is ultimately unlawful for an employer to differentiate between pregnancy related and other disabilities. A pregnant female employee must be treated just as another temporarily disabled employee would be treated. Therefore, 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 sufficient, the employer may need to allow the employee to take disability leave or unpaid leave as it would for other employees.

Maternity Leave Laws in Illinois

Aside from the aforementioned, the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) adds additional protections to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The FMLA provides for additional rights for break times when nursing.

The FMLA also allows pregnant employees who meet certain conditions to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for:

  • Childbirth
  • Adoption
  • Serious health conditions
  • Taking care of a sick child or family member

Employees cannot be fired due to taking maternity leave under the FMLA. When you return from your leave, your employer is required to reinstate you to the same or a similar position.

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 and determine whether discrimination has occurred.

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 being pregnant.

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 discrimination claims.

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 case, dial (630) 364-4061 today.

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