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Pregnancy and breastfeeding in the workplace

The workplace must be a safe place for employees. There are very specific laws set by the federal government and Indiana to protect against discrimination based on certain immutable characteristics. Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding are among those who benefit from such protections.

It’s crucial that employees understand their rights in these matters, so that they can fight back if their legal rights are violated.

Workplace accommodations for pregnant women

In Indiana, pregnant women have the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace under both federal and state laws. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), a federal law, prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

It mandates that employers treat women affected by pregnancy or childbirth in the same manner as other employees similar in their ability or inability to work. This may include providing lighter duty, alternative assignments, disability leave or unpaid leave to pregnant employees if such accommodations are provided for other employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.

Indiana has also enacted specific legislation aimed at supporting pregnant workers. The Indiana Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees for issues related to pregnancy or childbirth, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the business.

Rights for breastfeeding mothers

For breastfeeding mothers, Indiana law provides protections and accommodations in the workplace. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth. The law also mandates that employers must provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, where an employee may use to express breast milk.

In addition to federal regulations, Indiana has its own laws supporting breastfeeding mothers. Indiana Code 22-2-14-2 states that employers are encouraged to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express her breast milk in privacy during any break time.

When pregnant or breastfeeding employees aren’t provided with the accommodations they’re due, they may take legal action. Seeking assistance from a legal representative may help these employees to learn their options and protect their interests.