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Concerns surround new optional law for pregnancy accommodations

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2021 | Workplace Discrimination

Employment discrimination and complaints can come about for many reasons in Indiana. One that can cause extensive problems for a worker and shine a negative light on a company is pregnancy discrimination. Pregnant women inevitably deal with various issues as the months pass and most employers are agreeable to showing flexibility. Still, some are not as worker-friendly and it could result in accusations that the employer is violating the law. It is important for people to be aware of how employment law can protect them in this or any other situation where employers may be mistreating workers or ignoring the law.

Businesses granted the option of accommodating pregnant workers

There are federal protections in place that grant pregnant workers certain accommodations in general. An attempt on the part of the governor to expand those protections in Indiana was rejected by the state legislature in favor of optional protections. With this law, pregnant workers can ask their employer for accommodations with the employer given a certain amount of time to reply. There are no fundamental rules that the request must be granted. Examples of accommodations pregnant women might ask for include less physically demanding assignments and extended break time.

Indiana is 14th for infant mortality rates in the nation and this was an attempt to improve on that. Businesses, however, were against the law to guarantee accommodations. Despite the federal law, some cases fall into a gray area that this state law proposal sought to address. An executive order is expected for state workers, but it has yet to be issued. Businesses were concerned about the possibility of legal filings if there were new requirements rather than options.

Women facing pregnancy discrimination still have rights

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects women from pregnancy discrimination and any negative treatment on the job such as diminished wages, being deprived a promotion, losing fringe benefits, being fired or other acts. They can also be placed on temporary disability and have modified assignments, lighter duty and more. Despite the optional law in the state that may be put in effect, pregnant workers are still shielded from workplace discrimination due to pregnancy. If there is any form of discrimination, it is important to understand the available options and have professional advice on how to proceed.



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