Even as you anxiously await the arrival of your new baby, you realize that you will need to address the issue of your pregnancy with your employer. You might have reservations about how the company will take the news, since your condition affects your job before, during, and after you take leave. It is a relief to know that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and other laws protect your rights, so you have confidence knowing that you can inform your employer when the time is right for you, your doctor, and your loved ones.
However, you may still have misgivings when considering your role with the company, post-pregnancy plans, workplace culture, and key players. It is helpful to consult with a Georgia pregnancy discrimination attorney to ensure you understand your rights, but some tips may also be useful.
- Assess Your Comfort Level. Pregnancy involves very personal choices and health care needs, so you must first assess how comfortable you are with people at your workplace knowing about your condition. Keep in mind that informing your employer means telling your managers, supervisors, co-workers, and other business contacts. If you are waiting until a certain number of weeks have passed to tell family and friends, this may also be a good point to notify proper parties at work. Do not feel obligated to share the news with your employer before others, even if you get along well at work and/or have been at your position for some time.
- Determine if You Need Reasonable Accommodations. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires employers to provide employees with reasonable accommodations if a disability or other protected characteristic affects their ability to work. Pregnancy is a protected medical condition, so you can make a request to modify your work conditions. From there, employers must engage in an interactive process to figure out what accommodations would be reasonable in your condition. As a result, your employer will obviously find out that you are expecting.
- Plan Your Maternity Leave. Anyone planning to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must notify their employer at least 30 days prior, if the need to take time off work is foreseeable. Even though pregnancy is certainly foreseeable and you would be in compliance with the law, it may not be practical to wait this long. Not only would your employer prefer additional time to plan for your absence, but your condition will also be plainly obvious.
- Protect Your Interests Under Employment Discrimination Laws. If you fear termination, demotion, retaliation, or unfair treatment, these concerns should drive your timing in informing your employer that you are expecting. You have an edge in an employment discrimination case, because the company cannot assert that never had notice about your pregnancy. For instance, if you are in a sales position, your employer might divert accounts to other employees – while you are still working but after you notify the company about your pregnancy. This scenario is more likely to be viewed as wrongful retaliation, as compared to your employer taking such action without knowing that you are expecting.
A Georgia Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer Can Advise You on Strategies
These recommendations may guide you on choosing the right time to tell your employer about your pregnancy, but you will need experienced legal counsel if you experience mistreatment related to your condition. For more information about your rights and remedies, please contact the Vaughn Law Firm. You can set up a no-cost consultation with an employment discrimination attorney by calling our Decatur, GA office at 877.615.9495 or checking us out online.