Many women in Ohio work throughout their pregnancies. Unfortunately, they mostly remain at the mercy of their employers when they need extra breaks or light duty. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provides only limited protection under federal law for pregnant employees. According to the law, employers need to accommodate requests for light duty or breaks from pregnant women only if they already grant these accommodations to other employees.
The limited scope of the PDA gives employers the ability to ignore the needs of pregnant workers when they already limit breaks and ignore requests for changes in duties from everyone else. Even when women present letters from their doctors explaining the need for breaks and light duty, employers do not necessarily have to approve the requests.
For women in strenuous occupations that require heavy lifting, like warehouse work, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes that they have an increased risk of miscarriage. For example, in one warehouse where managers refused requests from pregnant women to work on tasks with smaller boxes, three miscarriages occurred among employees in 2014.
Pregnancy discrimination also happens when employers fire pregnant employees or deny them promotions. A person who has experienced workplace discrimination might want the insights of an attorney. Legal counsel could evaluate the situation and provide an opinion about whether an employer violated any state or federal employment laws. To hold an employer accountable, an attorney could prepare a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and open discussions about a settlement. If necessary, the lawyer may file a lawsuit to recover financial damages arising from job loss, violations of wage and hour laws or denial of advancement opportunities.