It is Against the law in Nebraska to Discriminate Against Woman Due to Pregnancy

The Nebraska Fair Employment Practices Act (“NFEPA”) is a Nebraska law that protects employees from discrimination.  One of the protections under this law includes making it unlawful to discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace.  For example, an employer cannot refuse to hire a woman simply because she is expecting.  Other examples include a failure to promote or a reduction in pay simply because the employee is pregnant. 

Nebraska Law Protects Pregnant Employees 

In 2015, Nebraska increased protections for pregnant workers.  Prior to the change in the law, an employer was only required to treat pregnant employees in the same manner it would treat other employees.  For example, if a pregnant employee needed an accommodation in order for her to effectively do her job, the type of accommodation had to be consistent with any other type of accommodation request.  

With the changes to the law, a pregnant worker no longer needs to prove that her requested accommodation is medically necessary. Rather, the employee only needs to inform her employer that she has a known physical limitation.  For example, if a pregnant worker’s job is to stand her entire shift as a cashier, she no longer needs to provide a doctor’s note stating she needs a break every so often to sit or for the employer to provide her a chair.   

Pregnant Workers are Entitled to Accommodations 

While an employer has a responsibility to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities, the accommodations for pregnant workers are even broader.  Many of those accommodations include: 

  • Getting special equipment for sitting;
  • Providing more frequent or longer breaks, and/or periodic rest;
  • Helping the employee with manual labor tasks;
  • Job restructuring, light-duty assignments, or modified work schedules;
  • Allowing temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work;
  • Permitting time off to recover from childbirth, or break time; and 
  • Providing appropriate facilities for breast-feeding or expressing breast milk. 

Of course, employers are not required to provide any accommodation if they can establish the request will create an undue burden.  An undue burden is present if the accommodation is too costly or very difficult to implement. 

Other Laws May Also Protect Pregnant Employees

Pregnant workers are also protected under Federal Law.  It is against the law to discriminate or harass a female employee:

  • If she is pregnant;
  • If she had been pregnant;
  • Due to a potential pregnancy;
  • Because she suffers a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth;
  • If she had to have or chose to have an abortion; and/or
  • Because she uses birth control.

Also, if a woman develops a disability during the pregnancy, such as diabetes, she may also be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).  Some pregnant workers may also be protected under the Family Medical Leave Act, better known as the FMLA.

If you are a job applicant or an employee and you believe you have been discriminated against because of your pregnancy, you should consult with an attorney.  You may be entitled to the following:

  • Having your job restored, 
  • Receiving lost wages, 
  • Having your accommodations granted, and 
  • Receiving other damages.