McNamee Hosea News & Press


Protections in Place For Pregnant Workers in Maryland

In a recent blog post, we discussed a case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. That case involves claims of pregnancy discrimination by a former worker for UPS. While there have not been any developments in that case just yet, this can be a good opportunity to look at the current laws regarding pregnancy and discrimination and explore how they affect employees and employers across Maryland.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects women from being treated unfairly in the workplace based on pregnancy-related issues. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against pregnant women at any phase of employment, from hiring to firing.

In accordance with the PDA, pregnant women cannot be refused employment or promotion based on their pregnancy. They are to be compensated and trained the same as any other employee in their same employment position. Further, they are to receive the same accommodations in job duties as other employees who are temporarily disabled.

Like other types of discrimination, pregnancy discrimination can be devastating for victims. However, pregnant women can be particularly dependent on the regular income and health benefits afforded by employment. They also may suffer from complications that can make it crucial to avoid stress, anxiety physical exertion.

All this means that claims of pregnancy discrimination can cast a very negative light on employers accused of treating a pregnant woman unfairly. 

But it is crucial for employers to understand that the requirement to treat pregnant employees the same as other employees works both ways: Employers don't need to favor pregnant employees or make allowances that would not be made for other employees.

Identifying the line between fair treatment and unfair treatment can be difficult for some employers. In order to avoid the ramifications of crossing that line, it can be a good idea to discuss workplace policies and protections with an attorney before a claim of discrimination can be filed.