Discrimination employment law provides protection for employees who are pregnancy and much more. More commonly asked questions relating to other situations such as insurance, maternity leave, unions, and other discrimination employment law and situations often arise. When reading through this blog, it is important that you remember that an employer cannot make any employment decisions based on any pregnancy related conditions. If you feel that your employer has violated the discrimination employment law and has discriminated against you in any way, please contact Krueger Hernandez & Thompson SC.
Questions related to termination of pregnancy and single parents and discrimination employment law ………
- An employer cannot discharge or discipline a woman because she has or is contemplating terminating a pregnancy (abortion). In short, an employer cannot discriminate in its employment practices against a woman because of any pregnancy-related conditions.
- An employer cannot discharge, refuse to hire or discipline a woman because she is pregnant and not married. An employer may not treat a pregnant employee any differently on the basis of her marital status. In addition, the same maternity insurance benefits must be provided to all pregnant employees, no matter their marital status.
- An employer cannot force an employee to take maternity leave at any point in her pregnancy, unless she is unable to perform her job duties. The time and length of the employee’s leave should be determined between the employee and her doctor.
- An employer must hold a pregnant employee’s job open upon her return from maternity leave on the same basis as the jobs being held for employees on sick or disability leave. If an employee is entitled to medical leave under the State or Federal Family Medical Leave Act and takes medical leave because of a pregnancy, the returning employee can be eligible for reinstatement in their former position, or an equivalent position with equivalent compensation, benefits, work schedules, hours and other terms and conditions of employment if the former position is not available. This applies to both male and female employees who take a temporary leave due to pregnancy.
Disability coverage and other insurance questions……….
- Employers are required to provide disability coverage for pregnant employees on the same basis they provide for any other temporary condition. With this, disability income protection and medical expense insurance will cover pregnancy related issues as well as healthcare expenses, as they would for any other temporary disability. However, if the employer does not have any disability coverage for their employees, they are not obligated to provide coverage for pregnancy. The employer only has to give pregnant employees the same benefits as they do to all temporarily disabled employees.
- An employer is not required to pay part of a woman’s salary while she is on a pregnancy disability leave. The employer is only required to pay the same benefits it pays to other temporarily disabled employees.
- There can be a waiting period before maternity coverage begins as long as it is the same waiting period for coverage of other health conditions. An employer does not have to pay maternity benefits if a pregnant employee leaves the job unless the employer pays benefits for other conditions beyond the termination of employment. An employer must offer insurance coverage for pregnancy-related conditions and all insurance plans in those situations when an employer offers its employees a choice among several health insurance plans. Each of the plans offered must cover pregnancy-related conditions. Any employee with a single coverage policy must receive coverage for her pregnancy-related condition and not be forced to carry a family policy. However, a single person could be required to purchase a family policy in order to provide coverage for their child. An employee who is unable to work because of pregnancy-related temporary disability is not eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Worker’s compensation is available only to those persons with a job-related illness or injury. The laws regarding discrimination and insurance policies apply only to the employers and do not apply to insurance companies. It is the employer’s responsibility to buy insurance policies which comply with the law. Of course, it would be wise for an insurance company to advise an employer of their legal obligations regarding maternity benefits.
Pregnancy and union contracts……
- An employer and a union cannot enter into a health or disability insurance contract which excludes maternity benefits. In those situations, both the union and the employer would be subject to the Wisconsin Fair Employment Law and held accountable for entering into a discriminatory contract.
Relationship between federal and state discrimination employment law …….
- There are no differences in what is required in the federal and state discrimination laws and the treatment of pregnant employees by an employer. It is important to know that federal discrimination law only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, but Wisconsin state law covers all employers. Finally, the Federal and State Family Medical Leave Laws apply to employers with 50 or more permanent employees. The two laws do differ in key areas which can be answered best by an experienced employment law attorney.
- It does not make any difference whether an employment-related maternity complaint is filed with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division (ERD). Both are the work sharing agreement that requires complaints to be co-filed with each other unless the complaint objects. Although there may be some procedural differences between the two they are generally the same.
- Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act claims must be filed with the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division within 30 days of knowing about the alleged violation. A claim under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Law must be filed with the US Labor Department Wage and Hour Division.
Finally, if you are an employer with questions on how to handle hiring, working with or terminating a pregnant employee please contact Krueger Hernandez & Thompson SC. If you are a pregnant employee and feel you have been treated unfairly or differently than other employees because of your pregnancy please contact us for a no cost, no obligation consultation to answer your questions and protect your legal rights. We will fight to ensure the discrimination employment law is followed.