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Can an employer fire a worker for being pregnant?

Finding out that a baby is on their way is an exciting moment for most Illinois women. While they may have normal concerns about how they will parent and raise their children, many expectant moms enjoy the process of bringing new lives into the world. However, for some mothers, pregnancy brings with it a real and intimidating fear: the threat of losing one's job.

Pregnancy causes a woman's body to undergo serious physical stresses and changes. A woman may have less energy, feel sick or even experience pain throughout the nine months it takes for her child to grow and come into the world. As such, she may find that she is limited in the types of work that she can do while she is pregnant and may require assistance to do the work that she did prior to finding out that she was expecting.

Employers generally must accommodate pregnant women as they would individuals who are disabled. As pregnancy is a temporary condition, the employers' accommodations only need to last until their pregnant workers are able to return to their duties. Employers who fail to offer pregnant employees accommodations or who take adverse employment action against them because of their pregnancies may run afoul of state and federal employment laws.

As with other forms of employment discrimination, not all employers are bound to these rules. It is important if a pregnant woman believes that she has suffered pregnancy discrimination that she seeks legal guidance from an employment law professional. She may have a claim against her employer and legal actions that could protect her employment during and after her pregnancy.

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