Pregnancy Discrimination

It's illegal to treat pregnant women differently when making employment decisions. This means that employers cannot base the hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, or termination on an employee's or job applicant's pregnancy. The laws also prohibit harassments of a pregnant woman in the form of offensive or insulting comments about women, pregnancy, or childbirth. Isolated incidents of unwanted verbal or physical behaviors are never appropriate in the workplace, but when such behavior occurs on a long-term basis, or makes a person uncomfortable, or creates a hostile workplace, and then the harassment becomes unlawful. The harasser can be a co-worker, a manager or owner.

Federal law prohibits discrimination of any kind and pregnant women are a no exception.

Pregnancy discrimination refers to woman who are deprived of employment opportunities as a result of carrying their unborn child. Women can experience discrimination while being pregnant or even after giving birth. This is a form of sex or gender discrimination in which female employees and job applicants are treated unfavorably based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

Employers with staff members who are pregnant or may become pregnant have a responsibility to create a supportive environment in which all employees are treated fairly. All company policies should extend to pregnant employees as well. For example, if an employee requires temporary disability leave then this same leave should be offered to an employee temporarily disabled due to pregnancy.

Other rights given to employees that should also extend to pregnant women include the following:

  • employers must keep jobs open for pregnancy related absences for the same amount of time jobs are keep open for employees on sick leave or temporary disability leave
  • employees who are temporarily unable to do their jobs because of pregnancy have the same rights as temporarily disabled works which means the company has to provide alternative or modified work assignments, lighter duties or unpaid leave
  • if employers offer health insurance for medical conditions then the company must cover medical expenses including those of pregnancy related conditions
  • the spouses of male employees have to receive the same benefits as spouses of female employees

Although employers cannot use your pregnancy against you in terms of promotions, layoffs or training, companies still have a lot of power in determining who gets a raise or who gets fired. This reality often makes it difficult to prove that you were treated unfairly due to your pregnancy. That is why you need an attorney on your side who understands the laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination.

If you returned to your job after your pregnancy leave and were fired, or If you feel that your pregnancy affected your employment status as an employee or a job applicant, you need to speak with an employment law attorney. Yarian and associates, will successfully handle your pregnancy discrimination case. We will help you protect your rights under the laws as a woman and as a mother. Contact us today for a consultation.

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