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I’m Pregnant and My New Jersey Employer Is Demanding I Start Taking Leave, Even Though I Want to Keep Working. What Can I Do?

pregnant womanUnfortunately, pregnancy discrimination still goes on in this country, including in workplaces in New Jersey. Some varieties of pregnancy discrimination can be somewhat more obvious, like firing a woman because she’s pregnant or refusing to hire a candidate due to her pregnancy. Others, like demanding that a current employee take a leave of absence from work, due to her pregnancy, before she’s ready may be less so. However, in all three of these examples, the employer’s conduct may amount to impermissible pregnancy discrimination in New Jersey. If you think that your employer treated you unfairly as a result of your being pregnant, you may have a case and may be entitled to compensation. You should act without delay and reach out to a knowledgeable New Jersey pregnancy discrimination attorney about your situation.

The most fundamental thing to remember when it comes to pregnancy discrimination is that pregnant workers are entitled to the same treatment from their employers as non-pregnant workers are. Just as an employer is not entitled to demand that a worker take leave solely because that worker has a medical condition, an employer similarly cannot force an employee to begin taking leave strictly because she has notified the employer that she is pregnant.

New Jersey law says that a pregnant worker, just like any other worker, is entitled to remain on the job and reject a request that she take leave, as long as she remains capable of performing the essential functions of her job. That, in turn, means that the point in the pregnancy at which the employer can demand that the employee stop working and start using her leave will vary depending on the specific facts of that pregnancy and that job.

As an example, say that Anita works in an industrial job. Anita’s position has, among its essential job functions, lifting and carrying (without assistance) heavy loads of up to 50 pounds several times in a shift. Anita is pregnant and has learned that she is carrying multiple babies. Barbara is having only one child and works in a professional capacity that demands that she sit in an office and use a computer and telephone. The point in Anita’s pregnancy at which the employer can demand that she start a leave of absence may be relatively early (due to lifting restrictions) compared to Barbara, who may be able to continue working late into her third trimester before the limitations created by her pregnancy block her from being able to accomplish the essential tasks of her position.

It is important to keep in mind that the obligation in demanding that you start leave belongs to the employer. You do not have to prove that you can still do your job; your employer has to establish that you cannot.

There are multiple different ways that pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can happen. Whether the discrimination that harmed you was overt or relatively subtle, if you think that your employer took a negative action because you were having a baby, you may have a case. Reach out to the skilled New Jersey pregnancy discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates. Our experienced attorneys have been working diligently to represent pregnant women who have suffered from discrimination at work. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you.

More blog posts:

What Happens if I Was Fired in New Jersey for a Medical Condition Related to My Pregnancy?, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, April 27, 2018

New Law Extends New Jersey Law Against Discrimination’s Workplace Protections to Breastfeeding Mothers, New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog, Jan. 12, 2018

Photo Credit: Yulia Sk, [CC0 License], via Pexels

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