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 pregnancy discrimination lawyers by calling (312) 818-2407 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.

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.

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.

The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA)

In Illinois, pregnant women are protected by state law as well as federal law. The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. This includes protections against harassment, retaliation, and unequal pay. Additionally, the IHRA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees, such as modified job duties or additional time off.

Despite these legal protections, pregnancy discrimination is still a problem in Illinois. According to a 2019 report by the National Women's Law Center, nearly one in four pregnant women in Illinois report experiencing discrimination at work. This is particularly true for women of color and low-income women, who are more likely to work in low-wage jobs without the same legal protections as higher-paid workers.

Fortunately, there are resources available to women who have experienced pregnancy discrimination in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) is responsible for enforcing the IHRA and investigating claims of discrimination. Women who believe they have been discriminated against can file a complaint with the IDHR, which will investigate the claim and determine whether there is evidence of discrimination.

Additionally, there are a number of organizations in Illinois that provide legal and advocacy services for pregnant women and new mothers. These organizations can provide legal advice, representation, and support to women who have experienced discrimination, as well as working to raise awareness of the issue and push for policy changes.

In conclusion, pregnancy discrimination is a serious issue in Illinois, as it is in many other parts of the country. Despite the legal protections in place, many women still face discrimination and bias in the workplace, which can have serious consequences for their health and wellbeing. It is important for women to know their rights and to speak out against discrimination, and for policymakers and employers to work together to ensure that all women are able to work and thrive, regardless of their pregnancy status.

Protecting Your Career During Pregnancy

Being pregnant should not hinder your career growth or result in discrimination in the workplace. At Fish Potter Bolaños, P.C., we are dedicated to protecting the rights of pregnant employees in Naperville and Chicago. Our team of experienced pregnancy discrimination lawyers is here to guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are upheld.

Understanding your rights as a pregnant employee is crucial. Our Chicago and Naperville pregnancy discrimination attorneys can help you understand:

  • Pregnancy Discrimination Laws in Illinois: Familiarize yourself with the laws that protect pregnant employees in Illinois. These laws prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.
  • Reasonable Accommodations: Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees, such as modified work duties, additional breaks, or temporary transfers to less physically demanding roles.
  • Maternity Leave Laws in Illinois: Learn about your rights regarding maternity leave, including the length of leave you are entitled to and the benefits you may receive during this time.

At Fish Potter Bolaños, P.C., we stay up to date with the latest changes in pregnancy discrimination laws and provide comprehensive legal assistance tailored to your specific situation.

Schedule your initial case review with our pregnancy discrimination lawyers in Naperville & Chicago by calling us at (312) 818-2407 or filling out our online form today.

Commonly Asked Pregnancy Discrimination Questions

What are the legal protections for pregnant women in Illinois?

Pregnant women in Illinois are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The state law, the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), also prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. This includes protections against harassment, retaliation, and unequal pay.

What can I do if I experience pregnancy discrimination in Illinois?

If you feel you’ve experienced pregnancy discrimination at work in Illinois, you should discuss your circumstances with an attorney. You can also file a complaint with the state’s Department of Human Rights (IDHR). There are also organizations that provide legal advice and representation to pregnant women who have experienced discrimination.

What should employers do to ensure that their policies don't discriminate against pregnant women?

Employers should make sure their policies comply with applicable laws such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, they should provide reasonable accommodations such as modified job duties or additional time off for doctor's appointments when necessary.

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