It can be an exciting time to welcome a new baby into the family, but for some employees and applicants, it can also be concerning if they face pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant unfairly because of the pregnancy or because of a pregnancy-related condition.
Signs of discrimination
Discrimination based on pregnancy may appear in several forms. Often, the employee or applicant may be denied a promotion, assigned to unfavorable work duties, may be fired, or suffer from other mistreatment such as harassment, derogatory comments or inappropriate statements about the employee’s appearance.
Some employees may also be questioned about their commitment to their job responsibilities.
It may also occur when the employer fails to provide reasonable accommodations to the employee or applicant, like modified work hours, time off for medical appointments or a temporary change in job duties. Pregnant employees have a right to request reasonable accommodations from the employer.
If an employee or applicant reports the discrimination, they may be retaliated against. In the long-term, pregnancy discrimination can cause the victim financial and emotional stress, loss of income and they may miss valuable job opportunities.
Employers have a responsibility to prevent pregnancy discrimination in the workplace by providing training, policies and procedures and other notices to their teams.
Employees or applicants who believe they have been discriminated against should document the incidents, report the discrimination to their human resources department or supervisor, and have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.