The Georgia General Assembly Weighs Passage of a Bill That Would Ban Many Forms of Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination

Workers who make the decision to continue navigating the workplace during (or very shortly after) their pregnancies face many potential challenges, from the logistical to the physical to the emotional. What they shouldn’t have to face is discrimination on the job because they’re continuing to work while pregnant or nursing an infant. Currently, the Georgia General Assembly is considering a bill that would provide very substantial new protections for pregnant workers in this state. Already, federal law prohibits many forms of discrimination against pregnant or breastfeeding/nursing mothers so, if you’ve suffered professional harm because you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you owe it to yourself to contact a knowledgeable Atlanta pregnancy discrimination lawyer to discuss your situation.

The Pregnancy Protection Act would prohibit a variety of employment practices that would, according to the bill, constitute pregnancy discrimination. One crucial element of the bill would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for workers who are pregnant.

Under the act, possible reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers would include things like “longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, time off for medical appointments, absences related to medical needs for pregnancy, acquisition or modification of equipment, seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, light duty, break time and private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modified work schedules.”

The bill would also make retaliation against a job applicant or worker who requests (or uses) a pregnancy accommodation an impermissible “unfair employment practice.” Furthermore, if the employer utilizes a job attendance policy that administers punishments for workers who accumulate a set number of absences, counting a pregnancy-related absence against a pregnant worker under such a policy would also be considered an unfair employment practice.

Workplace Accommodations and the Law of ‘Undue Hardship’

The act does contain an exemption for employers if granting the pregnant worker an accommodation would impose an “undue hardship” on the employer. The act specifically lays out what factors an employer (and, in the event of litigation, a court) must consider in determining if an accommodation imposes an undue hardship. These include “(1) The nature and cost of the reasonable accommodation; (2) The overall financial resources of the employer, the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of employees, and the number, type, and location of its facilities; and (3) The effect on expenses and resources or the impact otherwise of such reasonable accommodation upon the operation of the employer’s enterprise or business.”

Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers in this state already have one form of legal protection. The act that amended Title VII to make pregnancy discrimination a violation of federal anti-discrimination law became law in 1978.

Growing your family should be a joyous thing, not something that comes with losing your job (or suffering other work-related punishment.) If that’s happened to you, the skilled Atlanta pregnancy discrimination attorneys at the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert are here to help. You may be entitled to recover back pay, front pay, reinstatement to your old position, or other relief. Contact us through this website or at 404-873-8048 to schedule a consultation and get reliable answers to all of your pregnancy discrimination-related questions.

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