Women that work while they are pregnant are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured at work, just like other employees. There have been cases where pregnant employees that suffered job-related injuries had difficulty obtaining benefits, including situations where the employees had pre-existing conditions.
If a worker cannot perform certain aspects of a job due to pregnancy, they may be eligible for reasonable accommodations from their employer. These requests should be communicated to a manager right away. Employers have a responsibility to help these women perform their work as safely as possible. Doing this is one of the first steps toward preventing injury.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation
Most New Jersey companies are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for injured employees. Benefits equal two-thirds of the worker’s average salary per week. Benefits normally cover lost wages, plus the costs of medical treatment. Employers cannot deny or reduce workers’ compensation insurance if an employee is pregnant. There are federal laws that guarantee that these employees receive permanent or temporary disability benefits if they are injured at work.
Protections in Place
Pregnant employees also have certain protections under federal laws. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits companies from promoting, hiring, harassing, or firing an employee based on their pregnancy. This applies to companies with 15 or more employees. The Americans with Disabilities Act also prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the workplace and grants civil rights protection, guaranteeing equal opportunity in places of employment.
The Family and Medical Leave Act provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs. This covers having a baby, adopting a child, and caring for them. It also covers employees than cannot work because of a severe medical condition. This only applies to employers with at least 50 employees, public agencies, and public schools.
Employers are not permitted to discriminate against pregnant employees, and workers’ compensation payments should not be affected because of a pregnancy. Some women may choose to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); in some cases, an investigation is warranted. These claims must be filed within 180 days of the incident, and it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for contacting the EEOC.
Becoming Pregnant While on Workers’ Compensation
Some women that are receiving workers’ compensation benefits become pregnant before they are able to return to work. Becoming pregnant will not cause the benefits to terminate, although these individuals may be required to look for a job if they are able to do so. Workers’ compensation laws vary by state, therefore, contacting a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer could be the best course of action.
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Protect Pregnant Workers’ Rights
Pregnancy-based discrimination is against the law, and we are here to help if you are facing discrimination or harassment of any kind. Contact the Cherry Hill workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP today for a free consultation at 856-761-3773 or complete an online form for a free consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including the City of Camden.