New Jersey Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney

Pregnant woman wearing a suit and signing official documents at work

Pregnancy is an exciting time for a woman and her family. You’re glowing, anticipating your new arrival, and probably planning how to establish the right work-life-motherhood balance. However, you likely weren’t planning on being discriminated against at your job because of your pregnancy. While discrimination against someone because of their race or religion may be familiar to many people, pregnant women may not realize that they are afforded the same legal protections as other members of a federally protected class.

Have you faced discrimination at your work because of your pregnancy? Discrimination against pregnant employees is illegal in New Jersey, and according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pregnancy discrimination may be increasing. 

You have rights, and the legal team at NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC is here to ensure that your rights are protected. To learn how we can help, contact us today.

Pregnancy Discrimination Is Illegal in New Jersey

New Jersey law prevents discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace. The  New Jersey Law Against Discrimination affords protection for pregnant women, although pregnancy is not explicitly stated in the law. 

The law does, however, prevent discrimination in the workplace because of a person’s sex, and New Jersey courts, including the state supreme court, have interpreted the law as covering discrimination against an employee because she is pregnant.

New Jersey lawmakers decided that protection under the Law Against Discrimination wasn’t enough. In January 2014, the state passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, aka the Pregnancy Act. 

Under this act, an employer is forbidden to treat a worker differently if the employer believes or knows that the worker is pregnant. Furthermore, employers must give pregnant employees reasonable accommodations to facilitate their ability to work while pregnant.

Some common reasonable accommodations a pregnant employee may need include:

  • A stool or chair to sit on while working
  • Extra bathroom breaks without a penalty
  • Being able to eat small snacks at her desk
  • Opportunity to work from home or hybrid status to accommodate bed rest
  • Change in dress code, such as shoes or untucking a shirt

These are not all the reasonable accommodations a pregnant woman may need, and your employer may require a doctor’s verification for accommodations like working from home. 

Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against a pregnant employee if she asks for reasonable accommodations for her pregnancy.

How do I know if I am a victim of pregnancy discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination covers every aspect of a fair working environment, including termination of employment, hiring, and failure to grant leave. In fact, it covers any adverse action taken against you in the workplace. Pregnancy discrimination may be difficult to spot, and some women may believe they are imagining unfair treatment.

Some common indications that you may be experiencing pregnancy discrimination include:

  • You have been removed from a major project
  • Many of your duties have been assigned to someone else
  • You are not being considered for a position that requires travel
  • You have been overlooked for a promotion or transfer that you were on track for
  • Your hours have been cut from full-time to part time

These are not the only ways that a pregnant employee can face discrimination. She may also be a victim of harassment in the workplace because of her condition, including comments about her body and its changes. Some women may even be touched against their will. 

All of these actions are illegal and should be stopped by the employer. Both New Jersey and federal laws prohibit harassment of an employee because she is pregnant, regardless of how many employees work for the company.

New Jersey Victims Have Legal Rights

If you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of pregnancy, you have the right to file a complaint with your manager and your employer’s human resources department. Work through the reporting protocols of your company, and allow them the chance to rectify the problem.

If you don’t find a resolution from your company, and if the discrimination continues, then you may file complaints with the EEOC and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division on Civil Rights. These agencies are responsible for ensuring that companies follow state and federal fair workplace laws and penalize those that fail to do so. 

After the agency investigates your complaint and finds it valid, they will grant you and your employment lawyer permission to file a civil lawsuit against your employer for discrimination.

Have you been a victim of pregnancy discrimination? Contact our New Jersey office today!

If you have been passed over for a promotion, removed from an important project, or suffered harassment in the workplace because you are pregnant, we can help. 

The team at NJ Employment Lawyers in New Jersey will fight for your rights and help you file a claim with the EEOC and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and pursue a civil lawsuit if these agencies approve your complaint. 

Don’t try to navigate this difficult process alone. Discriminatory companies need to be held accountable. Contact us today for a free compassionate case review.