Pregnancy is a wonderful, magical time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, not everyone shares in that thought. Women across the country routinely face discrimination at work during their pregnancy. Sometimes, this illegal practice is so subtle it’s difficult to recognize. Here are some of the top examples to help you know if your employer is treating you like they should.
The most blatant example is being fired when you’ve done nothing to warrant it. Unfortunately, there are all too many managers that believe a pregnant woman can’t do her job. If you’re fired for no other reason than your obvious pregnancy, then you can seek legal action against your employer.
However, your employer can choose to be sneaky about how they fire you. They may change their attitude towards you, making work so unenjoyable that you would rather quit. They could set unreasonable expectations that were never a part of your job previously, write you up for ridiculous things, or anything else that might lead to an unjust termination.
Another common form of discrimination is harassment. Your employer or fellow employees might make offensive jokes, intimidate you, or (in the worst case) physically assault you. Any threats or derogatory comments also constitute harassment.
If your employer continually makes comments about how your pregnancy is affecting your work, they might be trying to get you to quit or transfer. If they fail to take action against your harassers, this is also an excellent reason to hire a lawyer for pregnancy discrimination.
Lack of Reasonable Accommodation
Employers are required to accommodate their employees within reason. For pregnant women, that can include alleviating the need to carry heavy objects and providing a place to sit. Understanding when you have morning sickness and allotting time off for doctor’s visits is also a requirement.
Keep in mind that just telling your employer you are pregnant isn’t always enough. The company may require medical documentation to go along with their accommodations or a request from your doctor. If they still refuse to comply, they can find themselves in trouble federal agencies. The same is true when receiving IVF.
As long as you are able to perform your job duties, then you may continue doing so under the law. Your employer cannot force you to take time off or change positions within the company. Many employers feel they are looking out for their pregnant employees, but that form of “help” is illegal and often unwarranted.
The Promotion Pass
With maternity leave on the way, several employers choose to pass over pregnant women when promotions are due. The general misconception is that you won’t be as committed to the company afterward, but that simply isn’t true.
This is a tricky form of discrimination that many find hard to identify. There could be a wide variety of reasons you didn’t receive the promotion. However, your employer following suit with any of the other examples in this article is a good sign that your pregnancy was the reason. Remember, you have rights. You don’t have to take discrimination at work just because you are pregnant.