A Brief Guide to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

Few things can bring as much excitement and joy to your life as learning that you are pregnant. For far too many women, however, that joy is quickly stifled when they begin experiencing discrimination from their employer. Fortunately, there are legal protections in place that can help to guarantee your rights in these situations – but you need to know what your rights are, and how to demand them. Specifically, learning about the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a great way to understand your rights.

What is the PDA?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was originally passed in 1978, and is a part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act is designed to help protect the rights of the millions of women who may become pregnant at some point during their careers. It is a fairly extensive piece of legislation, which governs virtually all aspects of employment including hiring, promotions, pay, firing, disciplinary actions, and employment benefits. This act applies to all employers that have fifteen or more employees. Although smaller employers aren’t covered under this act, however, they can’t legally directly discriminate against pregnant women either.

What Rights Does it Protect?
The PDA offers many protections against discrimination, which pregnant women are often a victim of. These protections apply not only to women who are pregnant, but also those who may become pregnant. Some specific rights that are protected include:

  • Getting Fired – Employers may not terminate employment because you file a complaint against them for violating the PDA.
  • Promotions – You may not be bypassed for a promotion simply because you are pregnant, or may become pregnant.
  • Maternity Leave – Your employer must hold your job for you while you are on maternity leave for at least as long as they would for someone on sickness or disability leave.
  • Hiring – Employers may not refuse to hire you just because you are pregnant, as long as you are able to perform the required job duties.
  • Job Duties – You cannot be assigned job duties that are unsafe for you to perform while pregnant.
  • Other – This legislation offers protections against any type of discrimination due to pregnancy or fertility.

Get the Protection You Need
If you feel you are being treated unfairly by your employer, or potential employer, it is important to act fast. Contact attorney Susan Crumiller to discuss your situation and get the legal protection you need against any type of pregnancy-related discrimination in New York.

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