Rights of Employees
Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy
Some pregnant women are able to work without any issues up until the day they go into labor. Others, however, are given limitations by their doctors such as limits on how much weight they can lift or pull or how long they can stand, or being put on bed rest.
Both the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("LAD") and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 require employers to provide employees reasonable accommodations for pregnancy. That is true whether or not you have been diagnosed with any pregnancy-related disability.
A reasonable accommodation is assistance or changes necessary to allow you to perform the essential functions of your job. The law requires your employer to you with reasonable accommodations unless doing so would an impose an "undue hardship" on your employer.
There are many types of accommodations that can be available to pregnant workers. For example, when appropriate, they can include:
- Time off for doctor's appointments;
- A modified work schedule;
- Help with manual labor, such as lifting or bending;
- Extra bathroom breaks;
- Extra food and water breaks;
- Periodic rest during the day;
- A temporary light duty assignment; or
- Time off from work.
Generally, under New Jersey law, an employee must request an accommodation before she is entitled to one. Further, an accommodation must be reasonable and cannot require you to avoid performing an essential function of your job.
Even after you give birth, the LAD requires employers to accommodate you if you are nursing. For example, if you request it, your employer must provide you an appropriate place to pump milk. Notably, that location must be reasonably close to your work area, and cannot be a bathroom stall. Your employer also must provide you time during the day when you can express milk, and an appropriate place to store your milk.
For more information, please see our articles, New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Protects Breastfeeding and Nursing Mothers Finally Get a Break, written by one of our New Jersey accommodation for pregnancy attorneys.
Of course, pregnancy often comes with related disabilities. Employers are required to accommodate your disability, whether or not it is related to your pregnancy. For instance, employers must provide accommodations for disabilities that follow pregnancy, such as postpartum depression.
For additional information, please see our reasonable accommodations for disabilities page.Protection Against Retaliation
The LAD prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee because she requested a reasonable accommodation. That means your employer cannot fire you because you requested or were granted an accommodation. It also means your employer cannot demote you, pass you over for a promotion, reassign you to a less desirable job, or harass you because you sought an accommodation for your pregnancy or breast feeding.
To learn more, you can visit our retaliation and whistleblowers page, or contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our New Jersey pregnancy accommodation lawyers. Our telephone number is (201) 777-2250.
Similarly, whether or not you sought or need an accommodation, your employer cannot fire, harass, or otherwise discriminate against you because you are pregnant. Additional information is available on our pregnancy discrimination page.Learn More About Your Legal Rights
For additional information, you may be interested in reading one of the following articles from our New Jersey Employment Lawyer Blog:
- Appellate Court Recognizes Employers Must Accommodate Pregnancy
- Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy Required Under Federal Law
- Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Explained by New Jersey Supreme Court
- New Jersey Passes Law Prohibiting Pregnancy Discrimination
- New Rights for Pregnant Employees in NYC
Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C. enforces the workplace rights of employees in New Jersey and New York. If you have been denied a reasonable accommodations while pregnant in New Jersey, or have another question about your employment law rights, we can help. We welcome you to contact us online, or to call us at (201) 777-2250, to schedule an initial consultation.