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Law Office of Michael T. Smith
Northern Illinois Employment Law Firm

Why Employers Cannot Discriminate Against a Pregnant Employee in Illinois

When you are expecting a baby (or babies) and suffering from daily morning sickness, the last thing you want to hear is your employer saying you cannot take days off. This is where the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Law can protect you. According to the law, it is illegal for an employer who has 15 or more employees to treat an employee unfairly because they are pregnant.

This law was a godsend for employed and expecting mothers who had to force themselves to come to work or were fired - even though reasonable accommodations were possible. Today, this is a civil rights violation in the state of Illinois, regardless if they work full-time, part-time, or are on probation.

Under the Public Act 98-1050, employers:

- Must accommodate a pregnant employee unless it can result in hardship;

- Cannot block pregnant employees from benefits and employment opportunities or act against an employee or applicant who asks them to accommodate her;

- Cannot force a pregnant employee to accept an accommodation they did not ask for;

- Cannot refuse to reinstate a pregnant employee to her original position or an equivalent one for the same pay when she returns from leaves unless he/she can prove it can prevent hardship for the company.

The first thing you need to do is to request for reasonable accommodations from your employer when you are pregnant or suffer from medical conditions, resulting from pregnancy. The only way your request can be denied is if the employer can prove granting the accommodation can result in undue hardship for the business. To prove this, they must determine the cost and nature of the request, the financial resources they currently have, the number of employees they have, and the nature of the work the business is involved in.

If the request can be reasonably accommodated, the employer must grant it or face disciplinary action or a lawsuit from the pregnant employee. Some of these accommodations can include:

- Longer lunch breaks;

- Frequent bathroom and water breaks;

- Comfortable seating;

- Transfer to a less stressful area;

- Time off to recover from the pregnancy;

- A modified work schedule;

- Work assistance, such as for manual labor.

How the Law Offices of Michael Smith Can Help

If you are looking for a lawyer in Schaumburg, Illinois, who can clarify the pregnancy laws in the state and represent you in the court against an unaccommodating employer, the Law Office of Michael Smith can help. Contact us today by calling (847) 220-5197. 

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