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Defining pregnancy discrimination at work

Announcing a pregnancy in the workplace should be something to celebrate and enjoy, but unfortunately for many women, it can become something that they dread, since they begin to worry that their pregnancy may lead to diminished career prospects or other negative treatment.

Women are protected from any discriminatory treatment such as this by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This prevents employers from engaging in discriminatory treatment, for example demoting an employee or firing an employee because of her pregnancy.

A pregnant employee has the same rights to benefits as any other employee. This includes their access to health insurance benefits, retirement and benefits to disability. These rights also include a fair access to a promotion, educational conferences and unpaid leave. In essence, a pregnant employee should be treated just the same as any other worker.

Your rights as a pregnant employee

As an employee, you have the right to be treated equally. This means that it is not permissible if your employer is treating you differently because you are pregnant, believed to be pregnant or because they believe that you may get pregnant in the near future.

One of the most problematic instances can be when a pregnant woman is suffering with illnesses and health complications during her pregnancy. This can mean that she needs to apply for sick leave or unpaid leave. In this case, an employer must treat her as he or she would any other temporarily disabled employee.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against as a pregnant worker, it is important to remember your rights and take action when necessary.

Source: Findlaw, "Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace," accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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