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Do Illinois Pregnancy Laws Protect Women At Work?

March 15, 2023

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In 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed pregnancy discrimination and accommodation amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act. This act provided pregnant women with more workplace protections than they had previously. Learn more about Illinois pregnancy laws and wrongful termination in this article. If you have questions about your case, talk to our FMLA wrongful termination lawyer in Chicago at Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates.

Pregnancy Discrimination Overview

Illinois is an at-will employment state. This means that your company can terminate your employment for no reason. However, this does not mean they can fire you for illegal reasons. If your company fires you illegally, it is a wrongful termination.

Some kinds of wrongful termination include sex or pregnancy, age, race, and sexual orientation. For example, state and federal laws protect you against being fired because you are pregnant. Federal law outlaws employers with more than 15 workers to fire because of pregnancy. But the Human Rights Act in Illinois applies to all workers.

Your Rights Under The Illinois Human Rights Act

If you are pregnant and work in Illinois, the Act requires you to have certain rights during your pregnancy. For example, your employer must make reasonable accommodations based on your medical restrictions during the pregnancy. For example, if you work as a cashier and are on your feet for many hours, your employer may need to give you more breaks so you can rest. Also, you can sue for damages if you prove that you were wrongfully terminated because of your pregnancy.

What To Do If You Suspect Pregnancy Discrimination

Here are essential steps to take if you suspect pregnancy discrimination:

  • Document the discrimination: Write down details about what happened, who did what, and when.

  • Talk to your supervisor: Talk with your boss or HR and ask about how the company handles pregnancies and reasonable accommodations.

  • Talk to co-workers: Do you know other employees who were pregnant at work? Find out how they were treated.

  • File a complaint: File your complaint through HR or your supervisor.

  • File with the state and federal government: If the matter is unresolved, you can file your complaint with the state and federal governments.

What Damages Are Available For Wrongful Termination?

It is a serious matter if your employer discriminates against you in Illinois. You cannot be fired or discriminated against because you are having or had a baby. If it happens, you must talk to a Chicago FMLA wrongful termination lawyer today.

The first thing to do is to file discrimination charges with the federal and state government. Next, contact the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. These agencies may try to intervene and settle the matter between you and your employer. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also addresses pregnancy rights and discrimination.

The state of Illinois allows you to file a lawsuit and request damages for wrongful termination. If you want to sue your company before the state government reviews the claim, you must ask the government to give you a right-to-sue letter. If you win the case, you can get your job back and receive backpay and other compensation.

Talk To Our FMLA Wrongful Termination Lawyer In Chicago

Do you think you were wrongfully terminated because of your pregnancy? You could be entitled to compensation in a lawsuit. Contact our FMLA wrongful termination lawyer in Chicago at Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates at (847) 466-1099.