Delaware Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyer

Pregnancy Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation Requirements Under Delaware Law

Both State and Federal law prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy. However, the Delaware statute provides stronger protections to pregnant employees than Federal law does. On September 9, 2014, former Governor Markel signed the Delaware Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. It has a reasonable accommodation provision for pregnant employees which Federal law does not have.  What that means is that in Delaware employers with four (4) or more employees have an affirmative duty to provide reasonable accommodations to the known limitations of pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions unless to do so would be an undue hardship.

Also, an employer cannot force a pregnant employee to take leave if a reasonable accommodation will allow the employee to do her job.

The law even requires that an employer with at least four (4) employees provide facilities for a woman to express milk.

And, just like under the Federal law, in Delaware an employer cannot legally terminate an employee or take any adverse employment action against an employee because of  pregnancy or a related condition.

The Delaware statute also makes it clear that an employer cannot discriminate against an employee because of family responsibilities.

Specifically, Subchapter II of Title 19 of the Delaware Code deals with Discrimination in Employment. 19 Del.C. § 710 (17), defines “Pregnancy” as “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition, including, but not limited to, lactation”.

19 Del.C. § 711(a)(3) requires employers to treat pregnant employees or applicants similarly to other employees or applicants, and makes it an unlawful employment practice to fail or refuse to make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to pregnancy unless to do so would cause an undue hardship on the operation of the business of the employer.

19 Del.C. § 710 (19), describes what those reasonable accommodations may include. It states:

“Accommodations available under this subchapter may include, but are not limited to , acquisition of equipment for sitting, more frequent or longer breaks, period rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring, light duty assignments, modified work schedules, temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, time off to recover from childbirth, or break time and appropriate facilities for expressing breast milk”.

An “undue hardship” on the business is defined in 19 Del.C. § 710 (28) as:

 “an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of such      facts such as: the nature and cost of the accommodation, the overall financial resources of the employer; the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of employees, and the number, type and location of its facilities, and the effect on expenses and resources or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the employer. “

There are also notice and posting provisions. 19 Del.C. § 716 has a posting provision.  Among other things, it requires in subsection (b) that:

(b)(1) An employer shall provide notice of the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions, including the right to reasonable accommodation to known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions, pursuant to § 711(a)(3) of this title as follows:

a. In writing to new employees at the commencement of employment;

b. Orally or in writing to existing employees by January 7, 2015; and

c. Orally or in writing to any employee who notifies the employer of her pregnancy within 10 days of such notification.

(2) The notice required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall also be conspicuously posted at an employer’s place of business in an area accessible to employees.

Knepper & Stratton represents victims of pregnancy discrimination, including employees who have been terminated because they are pregnant, and employees who have not been provided reasonable accommodations for their pregnancy.

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Speaking Engagements


by Barbara H. Stratton, Employment Lawyer
● 3/3/17 - Delaware State Bar Association Retreat, Women & the Law Section, Topic: Pregnancy discrimination and the Delaware Pregnancy Discrimination Act

● 6/10/16 - Delaware Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention, "Rapid Fire Tips- Employment Law"

● 3/23/16 - Labor & Employment Law Update, Delaware State Bar Association, "Old and New Ethical Pitfalls in Communicating with Employee Witnesses"

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