Discrimination and Human Rights

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The law provides protection for pregnant women

Pregnancy/Parenthood Discrimination

Sadly, pregnant women are all too-often subjected to discrimination during the course of their pregnancy and after birth. The law provides protection for these pregnant women. Montana’s Human Rights Act requires employers to give employees time off for pregnancy and childbirth. The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives Montanans the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or parenting. In addition, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits your employer from discriminating against you because of your pregnancy, which may give you the right to take time off work in some cases.

A Pregnant Employee also has the Following Rights:

  • Nondiscrimination in Hiring - An employer may not refuse to hire an applicant because she is pregnant or plans to become pregnant.
  • Continued Employment - An employer may not fire or discharge an employee because of her pregnancy.
  • Reasonable Maternity Leave - An employee is entitled to a reasonable leave of absence for the temporary disabilities associated with childbirth, delivery and related medical conditions. The employer may not place restrictions on the leave which would not apply to leaves of absence for any other valid medical reason.
  • No Mandatory Unreasonable Leave - An employer may not require an employee to take a mandatory maternity leave for an unreasonable length of time.
  • Use of Accrued Benefits and Leave Time - A pregnant employee is entitled to use any disability benefits, sick leave, vacation time, annual leave or compensatory time accrued pursuant to plans maintained by the employer for her maternity leave. If the employer maintains no such plans or benefits, the employee is entitled to maternity leave without pay.
  • Equal Treatment in Employee Benefit Plans - Disabilities as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition are, for all job related medical conditions are, for all job-related purposes, temporary disabilities. All benefits provided to temporarily disabled employees pursuant to such a plan must be provided to pregnant employees.
  • Reinstatement after Maternity Leave - An employee who has signified her intent to return at the end of a reasonable leave of absence for maternity must be reinstated to her original job or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefits and other service credits. 

For more information on what might constitute pregnancy or parenthood discrimination, as well as what legal rights you have, please read our blog articles and contact us directly. We can help you further understand how important it is to fight the horrible illegalities of discrimination, as well as determine what your legal rights are.