South Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers
Fighting for the Rights of Pregnant Women in the Workplace
Despite all of the progress America has made in the past 50 years with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963, sexual harassment and the glass ceiling still pose a threat to females in the workplace. Many women return to work after maternity leave to find their compensation altered or their position changed.
Pregnancy is considered to be a temporary disability under the law. Pregnant employees are protected for severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bedrest, childbirth and its recovery, and any other medical conditions stemming from pregnancy.
Opportunities and benefits for pregnant employees must be the same as other disabled employees. That being said, if a company refuses to hire a pregnant woman, or tells her to reapply after she has her child, they may be held liable for discrimination.
Protections for Pregnant Workers under the Law
Federal laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act provide protections for pregnant workers. Moreover, in New Jersey, pregnant workers are protected from discrimination and retaliatory action under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD). These laws prohibit an employer from refusing to hire, terminating, or taking any other adverse employment or discriminatory action against a female employee due to her pregnancy status.
The law also mandates that an employer provide a female worker a pregnancy-related accommodation in the same manner as it would treat an accommodation request by any non-pregnant employee similarly affected in his or her ability or inability to work. This could include allowing for extra bathroom breaks or offering modified or “light” duty work to a pregnant worker.
New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Benefits Law
New Jersey is just one of three states in the Union that guarantees women a partially paid maternity leave. Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) covers a portion of wages and typically begins four weeks prior to delivery and six weeks after childbirth, or eight if the woman had a C-section. These time periods may fluctuate depending on a doctor’s orders.
Family Leave Insurance and Who is Eligible
Family Leave Insurance (FLI) in New Jersey provides up to six weeks of partially paid leave to parents who wish to take time to bond with a newborn baby or newly adopted child. There are very specific qualifications and standards when it comes to Family Leave Insurance including:
- There is a seven-day waiting period before benefits begin. However, if an employee is collecting both Family Leave Insurance and Temporary Disability Insurance, this seven-day period is void.
- An employee must give an employer at least 30 days’ notice before leave. If an employee does not take this action, his or her benefits may be reduced by 14 days.
- Some employers may require or insist that employees use their paid time off (PTO) or sick leave at full pay concurrently with their Family Leave Insurance.
- Unless an employer agrees otherwise, Family Leave Insurance must be taken within the first year of a baby’s life and must be taken in chunks of seven consecutive days.
- If an employee receives other benefits such as Worker’s Compensation or unemployment, they may not be eligible for Family Leave Insurance.
- If an employer offers pay for maternity leave, this may affect an individual’s eligibility for Family Leave Insurance.
- In order to be eligible for Family Leave Insurance, an employee must have been paid at least $8,300 in the previous year or worked for 20 weeks in New Jersey, earning a minimum of $165 during each week.
South Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates. P.C. Help Workers Obtain Benefits
If you or a loved one has been discriminated against for taking your leave during or after a pregnancy, or have had you benefits denied, you are urged to seek legal counsel. It is not uncommon for an employer to use an employee’s pregnancy as an excuse to dock their pay or deny them a promotion. Do not let your career be stymied; contact our pregnancy discrimination lawyers in South Jersey at Sidney L. Gold & Associates at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.