Policies regarding pregnancy must comply with specific laws

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2019 | Employer Liability Prevention |

Women who are pregnant will sometimes worry about having to tell their employer that they are pregnant because they might think that the announcement will result in negative employment actions. You must make it clear in your company that it is illegal for anyone to take that type of action because of a pregnancy.

There are specific laws on both the federal and the state level that prohibit employers from discriminating against pregnant women. Pennsylvania recognizes that all pregnant women have a certain level of disability and that they are likely going to be unable to do their job duties in the same manner as they did before they became pregnant. Employers must make reasonable accommodations for these cases.

Sometimes, a pregnant woman might have a pregnancy-related condition that would qualify her for some form of disability. In most cases, this is going to be temporary disability, and she might be eligible to receive benefits because of this. If she has to take a disability leave or a reduction in her workload because of a pregnancy-related issue, she must have the same benefits as any other worker on temporary disability within the company.

At no time can an employer set a mandatory leave policy for pregnancy. Setting a specific leave requirement as an employment policy violates the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Instead, the company should rely on the woman’s physician to make the determination about leave, just as it would in the case of other disabilities.

If your company does have policies that allow a woman to take leave after childbirth, you must ensure that it is clear that men can also take the same leave. Additionally, this benefit must be extended to adopted children coming into the family. Failing to comply with the Pennsylvania and federal laws regarding pregnancy-related employment practices can lead to costly legal woes for your company.