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Pregnant and Working: Know Your Rights

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Around 75 percent of the 68 million women working in the United States will become pregnant during their lives. Historically, women with pregnancy-related medical conditions and pregnant women have faced significant discrimination in the workplace. Nearly 40 years ago, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (or PDA) in an attempt to eradicate pregnancy-based injustice. Although the PDA and lawsuits filed under the PDA have helped pacify some long-standing discriminations, it is still a reality for many employees.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act bans discrimination in every aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, pay, as well as many other employment benefits. It not only prohibits facially discriminatory policies that preclude or limit women from performing specific jobs just because they are pregnant or fertile, but also prohibits policies or actions which impact women because they are pregnant or able to become pregnant.


If you have recently become pregnant or feel you’ve been discriminated due to pregnancy related issues, here are several questions to ask yourself and consider.

  • I just found out that I am pregnant. Can my employer fire me or reassign me?
    • The answer is no. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an employer with 15 or more employees can’t fire you because you’re pregnant and has to permit you to continue working as long as you are capable.
  • Can my employer fire me for filing a complaint if I believe he or she has violated the PDA?
    • Absolutely not. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on pregnancy or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation or related litigation.
  • Your employer must hold your job open the same amount of time a position would be left open for an employee who is on leave because of disability or sickness.

We Can Help

Pregnant women and nursing mothers have to be granted acceptable accommodations in the workplace and, under many circumstances, time off to attend specific and critical family situations. If your rights have been infringed, our Chicago discrimination law firm will help with attentive, personalized legal representation from experienced partner attorneys. Call Goldman & Ehrlich us at 312.332.6733 or contact our Chicago office online.