A new Nevada pregnancy law is about to make a significant impact on how employers do business internally. What, however, does that mean for employees themselves? If you are an employee who is pregnant or may become pregnant, there are a few things you should know about your new rights and what it means to exercise them. There are indeed some responsibilities on your end, particularly if you wish to make the most of the new law. While it is there for your protection, making use of those protections requires some understanding of the law itself and its practical applications.
If your employer fails to honor the law, you may have every reason to consult an attorney who can advise and potentially represent you in the event that legal action is required. The Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act officially went into effect at the beginning of this October. Note that while you may be familiar with previously enacted federal law that would impact your pregnancy, this is a different state law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) effectually added to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to Northern Nevada Business Weekly’s S. Jordan Walsh. But what are the differences, and what do they mean for you as an employee?
Getting the New Nevada Law Right as a Pregnant Employee
The good news is that your employer is the one responsible for obeying this law. That said, you should hold them to account if anything seems out of place, and that means understanding your rights accordingly.
First, you should know that if you work for a company with at least 15 employees, there are certain things your employer cannot do to you due to your pregnancy or any health conditions that may be associated with it. Your employer cannot refuse you reasonable accommodations, take adverse action against you, deny you an opportunity for which you would otherwise be qualified, require of you an accommodation that is inconsistent with your own preference, nor require you to leave work in the event that other kinds of accommodations might be satisfactory. Those are all good things, but they also mean that you should be clear and definitive with respect to the nature of your expectations, particularly when it comes to any accommodation to which you must offer consent. If it later becomes necessary that you pursue legal action, it is important that you document a grievance to every extent that you were unambiguous with respect to said consent (or lack of consent).
Second, you should familiarize yourself with what kind of accommodations that are available to you, your options associated with those accommodations, and the extent to which you are responsible for making determinations about them. While federal law allowed that employers could essentially decide what kind of accommodations are appropriate, that is no longer the case in Nevada. Accommodations may affect things like your physical work duties, your work schedule, a dress code, and whether or when you are allowed food and drink. Also, note that while federal law required that you present your employer with a certain kind of doctor certificate, now you must simply provide an explanatory statement from a doctor that speaks to the kind of accommodations you require.
That all sounds simple enough, but that is not always the case with some employers. When they mess up, legal help may be essential.
Assuring Your Legal Protections are Honored as a Pregnant Employee
If you experience any kind of conflict associated with your employment and pregnancy, it may be time to consult an attorney. Disputes like that should never go unattended, whether litigation is in order or not. HKM Employment Attorneys represent clients professionally and with an uncompromising commitment to your rights and interests. In order to set up an appointment, simply fill out the online form located here.