Workplace protection for pregnant employees falls under multiple federal laws:

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”)

  • Amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits certain types of discrimination.
  • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • Protects against discrimination and harassment for employees “because of” pregnancy.
  • Includes discriminatory and harassing conduct based on past or future intention of pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, taking maternity leave, and medical conditions related to pregnancy.


Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – effective June 27, 2023

  • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • Focuses on providing “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
  • The employer will have to prove an “undue hardship” to avoid liability for not providing the requested reasonable accommodation(s).
  • Helpful info. from the EEOC for understanding an employer’s responsibilities under this law.


Family and Medical Leave Act

  • Applies to employers with 50 or more employees.
  • Covered employees have rights to take unpaid leave, including for their own “serious medical condition” that may be related to pregnancy, as well as time for the birth of a child.


Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”)

  • Applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
  • Covers certain medical conditions related to pregnancy may qualify an individual as having a “disability” for purposes of requesting reasonable accommodations and/or protection from discrimination and harassment. 
  • Similar protections may apply under the Rehabilitation Act for employers who receive federal funding.


Fair Labor Standards Act

  • Provides certain protections for women who need to pump breast milk while at work.

In addition to these federal protections, you should check to see if your state’s laws provide for additional legal rights, particularly if a company does not meet the “number of employees” threshold to be covered under federal law.



This web site (including links, blogs or other content) is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice.  Any interaction through this web site, including but not limited to any comments or the submission of a consultation request, does not create an expressed or implied attorney-client relationship. 

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