The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Discrimination based on these characteristics is a form of sex discrimination.
What Is Required of an Employer?
An employer with 15 or more employees cannot refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant provided that she is able to perform the major functions of the position. These protections also apply to pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, firing, and other terms or conditions of employment.
An employer must treat a woman who is pregnant similarly to other employees in regard to medical clearance procedures. If needed and if possible, it must also treat her similarly to a temporarily disabled employee by modifying her duties to accommodate her condition.
A woman who is pregnant, not the employer, has the right to decide whether working poses a risk to her or to her pregnancy. So long as she is able to perform her job, a pregnant woman should be allowed to work. If she is unable to perform her job, then an employer may place her on unpaid leave before the delivery, and for 12 weeks following the delivery under the FMLA.
Does Nevada Law Have Protections?
As of October 1, 2017, the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to women for conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or other related conditions. (Learn more here).
How Can a Plaintiff Take Action?
A woman who believes an employer has discriminated against her must first file a complaint with NERC or the EEOC. After that, she can file a lawsuit against the employer, if she wishes.
What Remedies Are Available?
In a successful claim, a plaintiff may be able to receive compensatory damages for costs caused by the discrimination. In malicious cases, punitive damages may be available. If the plaintiff desires, she may also be able have her work status restored.
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