Whether you are searching for a job, recently employed, seeking a promotion, or have had a long-term position with your employer, you may have concerns about your position or job status in the event of pregnancy. For pregnant women in the workforce, it is important to have a clear understanding of your rights before you are hired, during employment, and in the event of termination.
Whether you are searching for a job, recently employed, seeking a promotion, or have had a long-term position with your employer, you may have concerns about your position or job status in the event of pregnancy. Do you need to tell your employer before you are hired? Will your pregnancy impact your likelihood of getting a job? Can an employer fire you after finding out you are pregnant? For pregnant women in the workforce, it is important to have a clear understanding of your rights before you are hired, during employment, and in the event of termination.
You will likely have personal concerns separate from your professional concerns, and these may also deviate from your legal rights. While some suggest weighing your personal needs and professional interests with a pregnancy, no pregnant woman should second guess herself regarding employment or her ability to perform a job. Remember that the law is in favor of protecting pregnant women, to prevent discrimination and to ensure equal opportunities for women, especially in Minnesota.
Job hunting while pregnant: You do not have any legal obligation to inform a potential employer that you are pregnant while job searching. In fact, any interviewer who inquires about a potential pregnancy or your intentions to become pregnant is likely in violation of the law. If you are job hunting, you have the right to pursue any employment position without divulging any information about being pregnant or wanting to become pregnant in the future.
Pregnancy leave: If you become pregnant immediately after being hired, you are still under no obligation to inform your employer that you are pregnant until the 15th week before birth. During this time you will need to inform your employer of the expected date of delivery and declare your intent to take maternity leave. Under Minnesota law you are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. You cannot be retaliated against for taking the full 12 weeks and are protected against termination or other forms of retaliation.
Maternity leave: Your pregnancy should never be questioned by an employer but you will need to discuss and plan your maternity leave. After you request maternity leave, you have protection under state and federal law from being treated differently in your employment. Whether you have protection under the FMLA or state law, and how much time your employer is required to provide for your leave. No woman should suffer from discrimination or retaliation for pregnancy or for taking maternity leave. You also have additional rights related to adjusted work duties and breastfeeding.
Termination of employment after pregnancy: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits treating any woman unfairly because of pregnancy or any medical condition arising from childbirth. Under the law, employers may not discriminate when it comes to any aspect of employment including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, training, benefits, or any other term or condition of employment. If any aspect of your employment changed after pregnancy, you may have a legal claim against your employer.
Many women are worried about how their employer or co-workers will react or are concerned that they will be treated differently after they become pregnant. These concerns are valid, as many employers treat female employees differently during and after pregnancy. Remember that any discriminatory treatment, retaliation, or adverse employment action is illegal. Recently, a woman who was demoted after revealing her pregnancy was awarded $185 million for discrimination. Our Minneapolis, Minnesota attorneys at Wanta Thome PLC are experienced in employment claims related to pregnancy discrimination. Please call 612-252-3570 to discuss the details of your case or to learn about your rights under federal and Minnesota law.