Employment Law FAQs: Employee Pregnancy

What three laws impact employers during the pregnancy of an employee?

“Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which applies to employers with 15 of more employees in the current or previous calendar year, employees who are pregnant may not be forced into light duty jobs automatically simply because they are pregnant. However, an employee who requests an accommodation or who clearly needs an accommodation because they are unable to perform their job, they have to be treated similarly to other employees who are similar in their inability to work. Those comparator employees might be those with a disability, those who are returning to work on a light-duty program associated with your workers’ comp program, or they could include employees who are limited in their ability to work because of a licensure issue or some other type of training or certification.

Similarly, a pregnancy employee, whose pregnancy imposes a substantial limitation on a major life activity, may be a person with a disability and covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act states that an employer must provide an employee with a disability a reasonable accommodation that permits them to do the essential functions of the job, without imposing an undue hardship on the employer.

And, if the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles, and the employee has worked 1,250 hours within the past 12 months, and has worked for the employer for at least a year, the employee is likely entitled to Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, leave, which would cover prenatal visits, illnesses associated with her pregnancy including morning sickness, and would also cover her leave for the birth of a child.”

By: Whitney R. Brown, Esq., Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, P.C.

Each month, the Alabama Retail Association, in partnership with Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, P.C., produces a video segment, answering a frequently asked question regarding Alabama employment law. Click here to see more employment law FAQ videos.