Although it’s not often discussed, it is possible for future mothers to develop mental illnesses including psychosis during pregnancy. This is particularly common in cases where a mother has to stop taking her usual psychiatric medications during pregnancy, but it can also occur in cases where the woman has never had mental health issues at all.
Pregnancy-related psychosis is rare, but it is potentially dangerous to the mother, those around her and her child. Someone who has this while working could put themselves or others at risk of serious harm. Is that enough, though, to lead to being fired?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects you
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination in the workplace due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
Women who are unable to do their jobs due to a medical condition related to pregnancy may be able to obtain temporary disability to take leave from the job, but they cannot be forced to take leave unless their actions are making the workplace unsafe for themselves or others. In that case, the employer may argue that they are dealing with undue hardship and that the worker should not return until their condition has resolved.
In a typical pregnancy, the PDA prohibits discrimination during any part of employment, such as:
- Job assignments
- Fringe benefits
So, if you cannot complete your job duties due to your pregnancy or need reasonable accommodations to be able to do your job, that’s something to discuss with your employer. You may be able to seek temporary disability, reasonable accommodations or work out another solution until you are able to return to your normal workload following the birth of your child or resolution of a pregnancy-related condition.
What should you do if you’re fired due to a pregnancy-related condition?
If you are fired because of a condition related to pregnancy, it’s important to write down what happened and why you were let go. It’s generally illegal to terminate someone who is dealing with pregnancy-related complications, so this may be something to discuss with your attorney as you determine how you would like to move forward with your case.