Pregnancy discrimination is a serious matter and discussions surrounding pregnant employees can have high stakes. Pregnancy disability leave is a probable topic in any workplace that, if handled improperly, can be the catalyst for a discrimination claim.
Pregnancy disability leave is a type of leave that an employee may take due to pregnancy, childbirth, or complications that arise with their pregnancy. Clearing away common misconceptions that exist concerning pregnancy disability leave can reduce the risk of damaging claims against business owners.
PDL is not a vacation
One common pitfall that many employers stumble into is the misconception that a pregnant employee must use accumulated vacation time if they need to take leave for their pregnancy. The reality is that pregnancy disability leave is under the protection of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Pregnancy disability leave is a form of unpaid leave, though, and pregnant employees have the power to choose for themselves whether or not to use vacation days to receive pay during their absence.
Denying PDL is a form of discrimination
Keeping in mind that pregnancy disability leave is under the safeguard of FMLA, an employer cannot deny pregnancy leave if the employee and their circumstances are eligible. Similarly, an employer cannot require a pregnant employee to use vacation days or other forms of accumulated paid leave if they are absent due to circumstances surrounding their pregnancy. Such acts may be grounds for the employee to file a discrimination claim.