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Pregnancy discrimination 101

Under the law, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a woman based on her pregnancy. Although both state and federal statutes protect women against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, many people are not aware of their rights. This is why it is important to know how to spot this type of discrimination if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Laws against pregnancy discrimination cover aspects of employment such as the processes of interviewing, hiring, promoting and firing. Your rights are protected both during pregnancy and after childbirth. Following childbirth, your employer must grant a reasonable amount of time for medical leave. As an employee, you also have a right to medical leave if you are diagnosed with a pregnancy-related medical condition or disability.

What Are Reasonable Accommodations?

During pregnancy, you have the right to be granted reasonable accommodations for your condition. This means that you can request adjustments to your job duties. For instance, when you can no longer safely lift heavy objects, you can ask for assistance in lifting the object or request for another position that does not involve heavy lifting.

Recently, Wal-Mart came under fire over accusations that they rejected requests by pregnant workers to limit heavy lifting, climbing on ladders and other tasks. The class action lawsuit could include up to 50,000 women who claim the company had a policy that denied pregnant women appropriate accommodations.

Types of pregnancy discrimination

Actions against a pregnant employee that would be considered discriminatory include: termination, refusal to hire, demotion, asking whether an employee intends to become pregnant or change of job assignments without reasonable grounds. It is also illegal for employees to be subjected to discriminatory treatment based on a past pregnancy or related medical conditions.

Watch for these 6 signs of pregnancy discrimination

To effectively identify pregnancy discrimination, you should know how to spot the unfair treatment. Watch for these signs before and after pregnancy:

  1. New or more severe criticism from your boss when you are pregnant
  2. Missing out on educational and training opportunities without any reasonable explanation
  3. Promotion talks that stall when your boss finds out that you are pregnant
  4. A raise not happening when talks had been initiated before you became pregnant
  5. Dwindling work assignments
  6. Disappearance of invitations to meetings and social events

For more information, please visit our pregnancy discrimination page, and do not hesitate to reach out to our law firm with any questions. We are ready to protect your rights and stand up to your employer on your behalf if you have been a victim of pregnancy discrimination.

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