The Plight of Pregnant Workers Across the Country – and How New Jersey Residents are Affected

Pregnancy discrimination is getting more and more media attention lately, thanks to cases like Jamie Cole’s and Peggy Young’s.

27-year-old mother of three Jamie Cole had a high-risk pregnancy last year, while working as a certified nursing assistant. Her doctor insisted she stop lifting patients at work, fearing heavy lifting might put Cole into pre-term labor.

Following doctor’s orders, Cole request light duty at work. Instead, her supervisor at the Brain Center for Health and Rehabilitation in North Carolina stopped giving her shifts.

Cole’s case is similar to one involving a pregnant UPS driver who said she lost her job because she could no longer lift heavy packages. The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing that case, and its decision could affect millions of working women across the country. The justices will decide if federal anti-discrimination law offers enough protection during pregnancy.

“I was hurt really bad,” Cole said. “I had two other kids at home. I have a mortgage, I have car payments, I have bills. It took a lot away from our family. My kids don’t deserve that.”

“When women are pushed out during their pregnancies, it sets them back on an income gap and puts them into financial insecurity,” Migdal said.

Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee in New Jersey

Not only do pregnant workers have the same rights as any other temporarily disabled worker, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination offers additional protections for woman affected by pregnancy.

Here are some things you should know as a pregnant woman working in New Jersey:

  • Your employer must make “reasonable accommodations” for you during your pregnancy, even if your pregnancy is considered normal
  • You cannot be terminated or discriminated against because you are pregnant
  • You have the right to temporary disability leave or maternity leave

However, there are exceptions to these rules – you need to ensure your employer has enough employees to be covered and that you have been working at your job long enough. Your best bet is to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney if you are facing hardships and discrimination at work.

The Arcè Law Group takes employment rights seriously. We believe in protecting and upholding workers’ rights across New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Contact our firm today for a no-cost consult at 212.248.0120.

By Bryan Arcé | Published March 19, 2015

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