Pregnancy is certainly seen as a blessing for many expectant parents in Washington, D.C. However, it is not unheard of for a woman to be discriminated against in the workplace due to the fact that she is pregnant or has recently given birth. The government of Washington, D.C., has recognized this issue. In fact, the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 has been enacted to ensure that pregnant workers' rights in the workplace are upheld.
Per the Act, employers in Washington, D.C., need to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who may have limitations on what job duties they can carry out due to being pregnant, having given birth or breastfeeding in the workplace. If workers feel that they were not provided with a reasonable accommodation under this Act, those workers have the option to pursue a claim with the Washington, D.C., Office of Human Rights. If the OHR determines that the Act has been violated, the employer may be ordered to pay compensation to the worker.
What are some examples of reasonable accommodations? One is allowing the worker to take either more breaks during the workday or take breaks of a longer duration. The worker may need to stay home from work after giving birth for a period of time while she recovers. Sometimes it may help a worker to be provided with a special chair or other type of work equipment. A work schedule that allows the worker to perform lighter duties for a period of time, such as less lifting, may also help
If an employee files a complaint with OHR, the claim will be mediated and investigated by OHR. A Department of Employment Services administrative law judge may then issue a decision in the case. Pregnant workers in Washington, D.C., should not have to face illegal workplace discrimination. Those who do feel that they have been wrongfully discriminated against should take the actions they feel are necessary to have their rights upheld.
Source: DC.gov, "Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act," Accessed Sept. 28, 2015