Pregnancy should be a time of joy and anticipation, not fear of losing your job or facing unfair treatment at work. Sadly, many women in Rhode Island and across the United States are still discriminated against in the workplace due to pregnancy or related medical conditions. At Herman Law Group, we believe in protecting the rights of expectant mothers and demanding they receive fair treatment in the workplace. 

If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, know that you do not have to fight this battle alone. You have legal options, and our team is here to pursue them on your behalf. Contact us today for a confidential consultation with a pregnancy discrimination attorney in Rhode Island, and let us help you fight for your rights and secure the justice you deserve.

Pregnancy Discrimination as Sex Discrimination

Federal law recognizes pregnancy discrimination as a form of sex discrimination. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlaws discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This federal law applies to employers with at least 15 employees.

Under the PDA, employers must treat pregnant workers the same as other employees with similar skills or limitations. This means:

  • Employers cannot refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant or may become pregnant.
  • Pregnant women must have equal access to job benefits, including leave, health insurance, and disability coverage.
  • Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions, just as they would for temporary disabilities.
  • Pregnant employees cannot be forced to take leave if they can perform their job duties.

Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for specific family and medical reasons, including pregnancy and childbirth. To be eligible for FMLA leave, you must:

  • Work for a covered employer (private employers with 50 or more employees or public agencies)
  • Have worked for your employer for at least 12 months
  • Have at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12 months before the leave
  • Work at a location where your employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles

Under FMLA, you have the right to:

  • Take leave for prenatal care, incapacity due to pregnancy, and childbirth recovery
  • Return to the same or an equivalent position after your leave
  • Maintain your health benefits during leave

Rhode Island also offers additional protections through the Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave Act, which may provide more generous leave options for some employees.

Retaliation Is Illegal

Employers cannot retaliate against you for exercising your rights under pregnancy discrimination laws or taking FMLA leave. Retaliation can take many forms, including:

If you experience any adverse employment action after disclosing your pregnancy, requesting accommodations, or taking leave, you may have grounds for a retaliation claim. Document all incidents and communications with your employer, as this evidence can be crucial in building your case.

What to Do If You Experience Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

If you believe you are facing pregnancy discrimination, take these steps to protect your rights:

  • Document the discrimination: Keep a detailed record of all incidents, including dates, times, locations, and witnesses. Save all relevant emails, messages, and performance reviews.
  • Review your company’s policies: Familiarize yourself with your employer’s pregnancy and leave policies, as well as anti-discrimination procedures.
  • Report the discrimination: Follow your company’s internal reporting procedures. Put your complaint in writing and keep a copy for your records.
  • Know your rights: Research federal and Rhode Island state laws protecting pregnant workers. Understanding your rights empowers you to advocate for yourself effectively.
  • Seek support: Confide in trusted colleagues or join support groups for working mothers. You don’t have to face this alone.
  • Consult an attorney: Contact an experienced employment lawyer who can evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.

How an Attorney Can Help

An experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney can help you fight for your rights during this difficult time. At Herman Law Group, we:

  • Evaluate your case – We will review what happened and determine whether you have a valid claim under federal and/or Rhode Island state laws.
  • Gather evidence – We will collect and organize crucial evidence to support your case, including witness statements and employment records.
  • File necessary paperwork – We’ll file all necessary documents appropriately and within deadlines, including complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.
  • Negotiate on your behalf – We’ll communicate with your employer or their legal representatives to seek a fair resolution, which may include reinstatement, compensation, or policy changes.
  • Represent you in court – If a settlement cannot be reached, we will vigorously represent your interests in court, fighting for the justice you deserve.
  • Provide ongoing support – Throughout the legal process, we will offer guidance, answer your questions, and keep you informed about your case’s progress.

Contact Herman Law Group

At Herman Law Group, we are committed to protecting the rights of pregnant workers in Rhode Island. If you have experienced pregnancy-related discrimination in the workplace, do not wait to seek the legal help you deserve. The law limits the time you have to file a claim, so acting promptly is crucial to asserting your rights and seeking accountability under the law.

Contact Herman Law Group today for a confidential consultation. We will listen to your story, explain your options, and help you take the next steps toward justice. Let us fight for your rights and help provide a fair, supportive workplace for all expectant mothers in Rhode Island. Call us today or fill out our online form for your initial consultation. Together, we can fight pregnancy discrimination and create positive change in the workplace.

Herman Law Group is based in Providence but offers its services throughout Rhode Island, including Bristol County, Kent County, Washington County, Providence County, Warwick, & Cranston. Additionally, the firm extends expertise in Attleboro, Boston, and across the rest of Massachusetts.