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Sterling Employment Law

Proposed bill would require accommodations for pregnant employees

When you get pregnant, you know you need to take care of yourself to protect your child. You take vitamins, eat healthily and try to avoid situations that cause too much stress. But if your employer doesn't respect your need for accommodations, you may find yourself unable to continue working.

In Michigan, employers must give you 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. But there is no current law that requires them to make things easier for you at work. However, a proposed bipartisan federal bill might change that.

Pregnant women would have protections for accommodations

The new bill, called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, would require employers to offer pregnant employees reasonable accommodations.

These could mean things like switching pregnant women to less-physical tasks or allowing more breaks. If the accommodation doesn't cause hardship for the company, the bill would protect pregnant women from any retaliation.

The current lack of protection can threaten the careers of pregnant women

Currently, no law explicitly states that employers must accommodate pregnant employees. Some women have sued their companies based on pregnancy discrimination, but only about one-third have won cases for accommodation.

This lack of protection can lead to some women leaving their careers. Since their companies won't let them follow doctor's orders, they must choose between the child or their job. Without proper accommodations at work, it may put their unborn baby's life in danger.

Pregnancy restrictions may require accommodations at work

Your pregnancy will come with all kinds of instructions from your doctor. Between the foods you eat and the exercise you get, you may have many different restrictions. But if your employer won't respect your need for accommodations, you may find yourself unable to continue working.

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Sterling Employment Law

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