Can pregnant women get fired ?

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Can pregnant women get fired ?

For example calling off.

Asked on September 11, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) protects pregnant employees from adverse employment actions. Under the Act employers are required to treat women affected by pregnancy in the same manner as other employees with temporary disabilities. Additionally, they cannot take away benefits or accrued seniority because a woman decides to take maternity leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act “(FMLA”) covers pregnancy-related leave. The Act allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to attend to family matters. A pregnant employee is eligible for FMLA leave if she: (1) has worked for the employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutively), (2) has worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months, and (3) works at or is assigned to a worksite that has 50 or more employees or which is within 75 miles of employer worksites that taken together have a total of 50 or more employees (all full-time government employees are covered regardless of the number of employees at a particular agency, school, or other public facility). Under FMLA, when an employee returns from leave, the employee is entitled to be restored to the same job or an equivalent job (same pay/benefits).

In addition to the PDA and the FMLA, you may also qualify for protection under limited circumstances with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as any specific state law, if available.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Most states follow the employment at will theory.  You can be fired without cause and without notice.  The exceptions to this rule of thumb is discrimination, including those based on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. You cannot be fired due to your pregnancy but you need to review your matter with a labor lawyer to see if you should have been accommodated to a safer position or an office position if your actual position involved let's say a lot of physical activity that you probably cannot perform or are discouraged to perform pursuant to doctor's orders.  More information is needed for a complete answer herein but consider sitting down with an investigator or counselor at your state's department of labor.


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