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How Do Illinois Pregnancy Laws Protect Workers In Illinois?

Oct. 14, 2022

Person who is pregnant writing at desk with computerPregnancy is considered a civil right in the state of Illinois. This means employers cannot discriminate against workers who are expecting children, gave birth recently, or have a medical condition from giving birth or because of their pregnancy. These laws apply to all business owners or employers irrespective of whether their workers work full-time, part-time, or on probation. 

The change was implemented in the Illinois Human Rights Act. Pregnancy was included as a protected class. As per Illinois pregnancy laws, this means you are protected if you are expecting a child and can sue your employer for discrimination with help from Chicago sex discrimination lawyers.  

How Pregnant Workers Are Legally Protected in Illinois  

Per the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, US employers with one or more workers cannot mistreat any of them if they are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or have suffered a miscarriage/pregnancy loss. Here is what this means: 

  • Your employer cannot terminate your employment or cut down your hours. If you can keep working while pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you are legally allowed to keep your job. You can also sue your employer if they harass you because of your condition.  

  • Employers cannot ask about your pregnancy during your job interview or ask if you plan to have children later. 

  • You have the right to be treated like everyone else at your workplace, whether pregnant or not or had a miscarriage. According to the Supreme Court, employers cannot burden pregnant employees. Your employer has to make accommodations for you as they do for injured workers.  

For instance, if your employer sends pregnant women on unpaid leaves but gives compensation to injured workers as they recuperate at home, they are being discriminatory. Your Chicago sex discrimination lawyers will advise you to collect evidence to strengthen your complaint. 

This includes the company policy on harassment, discrimination, witness testimonies, and evidence of how others are treated. 

What Are 'Reasonable Accommodations?' 

In Illinois, employers have to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers or new mothers. These adjustments are meant to help the latter adjust to their work life in a way that doesn't harm them. Some of these accommodations include the following: 

  • A comfortable chair. 

  • Frequent bathroom breaks. 

  • Frequent rests for water or a break. 

  • A private space where you can pump breast milk. 

  • A temporary change in duties, your current schedule, and work environment. 

  • Time off in case you need medical leave or have to go to an appointment.  

Important note: These accommodations are not set in stone. Employers don't have to provide any that will cause undue hardship to them or their business. This can include expensive addition to a space or a new chair that a startup cannot afford, for instance. Your Chicago sex discrimination lawyers can advise you on whether you should push for accommodations or not after evaluating your case.  

Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates For a Consultation Today!  

At the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates, we have seen it time and time again - employers in Illinois taking advantage of pregnant workers to line their own pockets by firing them or placing them on unpaid leaves. 

If you feel harassed in the workplace because of your pregnancy or need legal advice to sue, contact our dedicated Chicago sex discrimination lawyers today in Schaumburg, IL. We can take up your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.