Can pregnant workers be laid off?

Business is very slow and I need to lay off a person from the office. However, both of the employees I am considering for layoff are pregnant. Can I lay one of them off without violating the State or Federal codes?

Posted 11-01-2001

Ann Kiernan replies:

Yes, you can lay off or terminate a pregnant employee, as long as you have objective, verifiable documentation of your legitimate business reasons for selecting the particular employee. But, in light of your employee’s condition, you may want to offer her several months of continuing medical coverage.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.