Being pregnant can be one of the happiest times in many New Jersey residents’ lives. You and your partner may feel excited about having a baby on the way and cannot wait to get the house in order so that your child’s arrival will go as smoothly as possible. Of course, with the excitement likely also comes apprehensions. These feelings are normal as anyone can feel nervous about caring for a child, but you may also have concerns about how your pregnancy may impact your career.
Whether you are looking for a job while pregnant or already have a job and become pregnant, discrimination concerns may have you feeling wary. Unfortunately, some employers or potential employers may show signs of bias against you when they learn of your pregnancy. However, if they treat you unfairly due to your expectancy, they may have broken the law.
If you already have a job, you may fear that your boss will react negatively to the news of your pregnancy. What you may want to remember, however, is that you do not have any legal obligation to tell your employer about having a baby on the way. If you do choose to do so, he or she cannot fire you, reassign you or force you to take time off as a result of your pregnancy.
In some situations, if expecting a child could put you or others at risk of injury due to an inability to properly carry out your work-related duties, your employer may have the ability to change your position temporarily.
If you do not currently have a job but hope to obtain employment, your may fear that your pregnancy will negatively impact your ability to get hired. Just like current employers, prospective employers cannot discriminate against you for pregnancy. You do not have to inform your prospective employer of your pregnancy either. They can legally ask if you are pregnant or if you are planning on becoming pregnant, but you do not have to answer, and they should not use that type of information against you.
There are some exceptions to anti-discrimination laws relating to pregnancy. For instance, many of the laws only apply to employers who have 15 or more employees. Additionally, the area in which you live could impact what specific laws apply and what accommodations an employer may or may not have to make for your condition.
If you feel that an employer or prospective employer wrongfully discriminated against you due to pregnancy, you may wish to consider your legal options in order to seek restitution for resulting damages.