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Common questions about legal rights for pregnant workers in Delaware

Pregnant women may have many questions and concerns about their rights in the workplace and available accommodations.

Women in Delaware who are pregnant or have plans to become pregnant may be worried about their rights in the workplace and ability to maintain their job throughout the duration of their pregnancy. Below are some of the common questions pregnant women may have about their employment rights while they are expecting and further information.

Can employees get fired for being pregnant?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act states that employees or applicants must be treated the same as others with similar limitations or abilities. This law applies to businesses that have at least 15 employees.

Pregnant women must be able to continue to do the major functions of their job. At the same time, employers are not allowed allow to dock a woman's pay because she is pregnant or demote her to a lower position. Additionally, employers cannot hold back benefits from a pregnant woman if she is not married.

What if pregnancy makes it difficult to perform a job?

The U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission states that pregnant women may be able to obtain an accommodation from their employer, so they are able to continue performing their job in a safe manner. Examples of reasonable accommodations can include the following:

· Permission to alter a work schedule or break schedule

· Approval to stand or sit while performing important job functions

· The use of ergonomic office furniture

· Permission to telecommute either permanently or on a part-time basis

· The elimination of nonessential job duties

Pregnant women may also be able to obtain a workplace accommodation under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act if their employer provides accommodations to employees with similar limitations, even if they are not related to pregnancy.

What if accommodations are not enough?

Before removing themselves from the workplace because of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, pregnant women should check with their healthcare provider. In many cases, healthcare providers do not consider that workplace accommodations can be put into place.

If these accommodations are not enough, pregnant women may need to reduce their job duties or temporarily work in a different position. However, these altered duties may also come with a reduced pay schedule.

Reach out to an attorney

Even though the PDA and other legal statutes exist to protect the rights of pregnant women, many in Delaware may still experience discrimination at work. Those who experience this type of discrimination should reach out to an attorney in their area to assert their rights and protect their best interests.

View Cases

  • Sheridan v. E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 100 F.3d 1061 (3rd Cir. 1996) (en banc) (Plaintiff's jury verdict and the "pretext only" paradigm for proof of intentional discrimination established).
  • Hawkins v. Division of State Police, et al., C.A. No. 99-297-SLR (Religious discrimination case which successfully obtained an offer of judgment and caused the State to stop using the MMPI-1.
  • Miller v. Daimler Chrysler Corp., C. A. No. 01-827-JJF (D.Del. 2003) (Race Discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Panaro v. J.C. Penny, Inc., C.A. 01C-02-010 JOH, 2002 WL 130692 (Del. Super. 2002)(In a personal injury case, admission into evidence of direct examination of deceased deponent/plaintiff does not.
  • Price, et al. v. L. Aaron Chaffinch, et al., C.A. No. 04-956-GMS, 2006 WL 1313178 (D.Del. 2006) (First Amendment Retaliation, Petitions Clause and Defamation Claims survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Reyes v. Freebery, 141 Fed. Appx. 49 (3d Cir. 2005) (per curiam) remanding to District Court to explain its restrictions on the public's right to access to judicial records and counsel's First Amendment.
  • Underwood v. Sear Roebuck and Co., 343 F.Supp.2d 259 (D.Del. 2004) (Gender discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Shotzberger v. State of Delaware Dept. Of Correction, 2004 WL 758354 (D.Del. Jan. 30, 2004) (Gender discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgement).
  • Stull v. Thomas S. Neuberger, P.A., 2003 WL 21481016 (Del. Super. Febr. 28, 2003) (Effect of Delaware accord and satisfaction law on a contract for legal services).
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