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What legal rights does a new mother in Ohio have at work?

Pregnant women in the workforce are protected by certain federal laws—such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, state-specific protections for pregnant women vary greatly.

What laws are in place in Ohio to serve the needs of pregnant or nursing workers? In this article, we examine three key areas of Ohio law:

Pregnancy discrimination

Sex discrimination is prohibited under Ohio law. Pregnancy is a condition that is inextricably linked to sex, and therefore an employer may not take adverse action against any female worker who is expecting a child.

Breastfeeding

Under Ohio law, mothers may breastfeed in any place of “public accommodation.” Whether a workplace falls under this category is a contended subject by some employers. Nonetheless, working mothers who need to pump breast milk while at work are protected federally under the Break Time for Nursing Mothers section of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Leave of absence

Ohio law protects a pregnant mother from adverse action by an employer for taking time off to give birth. If the employee is eligible for leave under the workplace policy, childbirth is considered a valid reason to take such leave. If the workplace has no leave policy, the employee is still protected from losing her job while taking time off to give birth.

Although the above laws are in place to protect working mothers, instances of discrimination based on the above conditions is still common. If you have experienced adverse action in the workplace during or after your pregnancy, consult with an employment attorney to understand your rights and opportunities for compensation.

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