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Understanding pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2022 | Discrimination |

As a pregnant employee, you have a right to fair treatment under the law. If you face discrimination or harassment at work because of pregnancy or childbirth, you may have a claim against your employer.

Understanding the ins and outs of pregnancy discrimination can help you identify it when it happens.

What your employer owes you

Your employer should never treat you differently because of your pregnancy or any medical condition related to your pregnancy. If you cannot perform your job because of a pregnancy-related medical condition, the employer must treat you the same as any other temporarily disabled employee.

You may receive unpaid leave, disability leave, light-duty or alternative assignments. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, you should have reasonable accommodations. Some common conditions associated with pregnancy include:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes

If your employer does not require special procedures from other disabled employees to prove their disability, he or she cannot demand it from you.

What pregnancy discrimination entails

If you face harassment at work due to your pregnancy or childbirth, you have a right to make a claim against your employer. Harassment becomes illegal when the office environment becomes hostile. Likewise, if your supervisor or employer demotes you or refuses you a promotion due to your pregnancy, he or she violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Additionally, if you need to express milk, you can do so in the workplace. Your employer must provide nursing mothers with a private space. He or she cannot refuse you or discriminate against you because of it.

When facing discrimination, your harasser may be a supervisor, colleague or client.