Examining pregnancy-related workplace protections

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2020 | Firm News |

Pregnancy certainly comes as welcome news for couples looking to grow their families. There are some in Birmingham, however, who may say that such notices spell bad news for employers. Having an expectant mother on staff means time off for the delivery of the baby and then a transition period once she returns to work.

Yet can an employer use pregnancy as a reason to let an employee go (or look for other reasons to dismiss her)? There are federal workplace protections in place aimed at preventing this very thing from happening.

Taking time off to have a baby

Despite the advances made in prenatal and obstetrical medicine in recent years, delivering a baby is still a complex process. There are also those first few weeks of a child’s life that are vital for their development. Cumulatively these require time away from work. A new mother needs to have confidence that she can take that time off and still have a job waiting for her when she returns. For this reason, the Family and Medical Leave Act affords people up to 12 weeks of leave from their jobs every year to see to medical concerns. The birth and care of a newborn fall within the scope of this act. It requires that when a new mother goes back to work that she returns to the same job (or one with comparable responsibilities and compensation).

Post-pregnancy workplace protections

Even after returning to work, a new mother has special needs that necessitate certain accommodations. One of these may be to conduct breastmilk while at work. Per the U.S. Department of Labor, her employer must provide her with the time (as well as a private location to do so) for up to one year after delivering her baby.