Pregnancy is a protected condition under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, all pregnant women have a variable degree of disability that should be accommodated by their employers. This includes both pregnancy and childbirth as well as miscarriage, abortion and any recovery that may be required for any of these events. When employers fail to provide pregnant women with the disability services they require as dictated by the law, they are guilty of discrimination.
Employers can have discriminatory practices as well. When a company has a policy, whether written or not, that excludes pregnant women from employment, it is in direct violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Additionally, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that all employers must treat women affected by childbirth, pregnancy or any related medical conditions in the same way they would each and every other person in their employment who were affected by a medical condition. This includes the distribution and receipt of all benefits from any of the business’ participating fringe benefit programs, such as health and life insurance.
Some businesses may also attempt to force pregnant women or new mothers to leave the workplace through illegal mandatory maternity leave policies. This occurs when employers require a pregnant woman to enter maternity leave automatically at a specific time during her pregnancy, or to stay out of work for a pre-determined amount of time following her recovery. All decisions regarding leave are legally required to be determined by the employee’s medical care provider, just as it would under any other instance of disability.