Dallas pregnancy leave lawyers represent clients in pregnancy leave employment claims in Dallas and surrounding parts of Texas. Pregnancy leave can be a critical time for a woman’s career. A pregnant mother has no ability to hide the pregnancy and it sends a message to the employer that she will have a need for medical leave and will have a competing priority at home. Too often employers use the pregnancy as a time to terminate or otherwise discriminate against the female employee. Access to medical leave for childbirth and pregnancy is protected under several federal and Texas laws. If you believe your employer discriminated against you for your pregnancy or otherwise impaired your lawful right to pregnancy medical leave then you should talk to a Dallas pregnancy leave lawyer right away.
Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace in Dallas, Texas
Pregnant employees suffer discrimination in the workplace when the employer treats them less favorably than other employees. Pregnancy leave can form the basis of employment discrimination when the employer refuses leave on the basis of the pregnancy or retaliates against the employee for requesting pregnancy or childbirth-related leave. Employers sometimes view pregnant employees as no longer reliable or shifting priorities away from work. This can lead to reassigning job duties, demotions, pay cuts and wrongful termination. This behavior may create claims for sex discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, or violation of specific laws protecting pregnancy leave.
Pregnancy leave laws in Texas
Dallas, Texas employees enjoy protection under several pregnancy leave laws that protect the right to leave for pregnancy, pregnancy-related medical conditions, childbirth and childbirth-related conditions. Many of these laws have overlapping protections. It is important to understand how they fit together and how to invoke their protections.
FMLA and pregnancy leave
The Family Medical Leave Act protects the right to medical leave for a serious medical condition, childbirth and bonding with a newborn child for up to twelve weeks in a one year period. FMLA applies to employers with fifty or more employees within a seventy-five mile radius of your work location. Employees become eligible for FMLA leave after working 1250 hours and twelve months for the employer.
FMLA applies broadly for pregnancy leave and childbirth. FMLA applies to medical leave for childbirth and bonding time after birth, what is normally thought of as maternity leave. FMLA also protects leave for serious medical conditions, which includes pregnancy and pregnancy-related medical conditions. This includes physician-ordered bed rest, incapacity due to the pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical conditions, doctor’s appointments, emergency room visits and other prenatal care.
ADA and Texas Labor Code pregnancy leave protections
Pregnant employees who suffer related medical conditions during the pregnancy or following birth may also receive protection for extended leave or other job accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Texas Labor Code. Long term medical complications from the pregnancy or childbirth can result in a longer need for leave than FMLA or for other types of accommodations. Pregnancy is not itself a disability under the ADA or Texas employment law but medical complications from the pregnancy or birth may be. A disability is a physical or mental impairment of a significant duration and many post-birth complications fall within the ADA definition of a disability although the pregnancy itself does not. Employers have a duty under the ADA and Texas employment law to provide reasonable accommodations to disabilities when requested. Additional leave or intermittent leave may be a reasonable accommodation.
Pregnancy leave under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978 to include pregnancy discrimination as a form of sex discrimination prohibited at work. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from treating pregnant employees less favorably than other employees. This includes a provision on medical leave. An employer must extend to pregnant employees the same opportunities for short term medical leave as other employees who need short term medical leave. Under the PDA an employer is not required to offer medical leave; but if it has a medical leave policy it must provide it uniformly.
What to do if your employer denies pregnancy leave in Dallas, Texas
If your employer denies a request for pregnancy leave then you should contact Dallas pregnancy leave lawyers right away. Your need for pregnancy leave is likely urgent and you need to work out the leave as soon as possible. There may also be retaliation, harassment and other problems to deal with connected to your request. Getting in front of those issues is often a better strategy than waiting until you return after the birth of your child.