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Employers must be proactive to avoid pregnancy litigation

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Employment Law (Employee)

Running a business is complicated, but it can be rewarding. Indeed, being a successful entrepreneur is the American dream. Unfortunately, being the boss also means, eventually, hiring employees, and with employees come additional complications and requirements. This includes those pregnant employee requirements in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Broad prohibitions

When making policy decisions, including hiring and firing, do not make any negative decisions based on an employee’s pregnancy status, related to the childbirth itself or that in anyway relates to a pregnancy medical condition.

This means that, if a prospective employee who is in the hiring pipeline becomes or is already pregnant, that pregnancy status (whether real or perceived) cannot be a reason to not hire that employee. Similarly, if a Dauphin County manager becomes pregnant, it is not lawful to demote them, even if it is just until they are ready to “return to normal hours.”

This also includes the ability or intention of pregnancy

Some Cumberland County employers want to protect their employees, including their ability to have children. This has caused some employers to restrict women from certain roles, if they have the ability to become pregnant (i.e., no fertile women can work with harmful chemicals).

What about just asking potential employees about their pregnancy plans?

This is generally not advisable. While simply asking the question is not itself prohibited, if any subsequent negative action is taken, the fact that the employer asked can be used as proof that the negative action was taken because of the employee’s pregnancy plans. This is why it is a better course of action for York County employers to just not ask such questions, even if they have innocent intentions.

Can employers fire employees after they return from pregnancy leave?

Some Lebanon County employers are forced to hire another employee during a long, pregnancy-related leave of absence. As a result, they may not want or may not be able to keep both employees. However, firing a pregnant employee after they return from their pregnancy leave is illegal because the timing of such an action could be used as evidence of pregnancy discrimination.

This is especially true if it relates to performance problems when, prior to the leave, the employee had good performance reviews. There are nearly an uncountable number of potential discriminatory actions related to just pregnancy discrimination, which is why it is always advisable for business owners to consult with an attorney when they draft their Lancaster County employment manual.