Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Pregnancy discrimination is rampant in most workplaces. It happens when an employer discriminates a person because they are pregnant or due to childbirth reasons. Discrimination during pregnancy has become a popular cause of unemployment today. It happens when an employer refuses job applications from pregnant women, fire or demote them. This is pregnancy discrimination, and if it happens to you, contact any New York discrimination attorney for legal assistance. 

The law forbids pregnancy discrimination under the civil rights Acts. Everybody deserves equal treatment in the workplace, whether they are pregnant or not. In the event when a woman is unable to perform her roles in the organization due to pregnancy reasons, she should be treated like any other temporarily disabled employee. For instance, the employer may modify her roles, alternate her tasks or give her a paid or unpaid leave. 

How is pregnancy discrimination demonstrated?

As stated earlier, discrimination during pregnancy is an act of treating women unfavorably simply because they are pregnant. Here are typical actions that most pregnancy discriminative employers do. 

  • An employer is refusing to hire pregnant women.
  • Demoting or firing employees because they are pregnant.
  • Treating a pregnant woman unfavorably or different from the others.
  • An employer is refusing to provide health coverage for pregnant employees as well as their spouses.

How the law protects you against discrimination during pregnancy

According to the law, it’s an offence to discriminate anybody based on pregnancy or childbirth-related reasons. An employer should not treat you differently from other staff. The following are your rights under the pregnancy discrimination act.

  1. An employer should not reject your application, demote you or fire you because you are pregnant or have childbirth-related issues.
  2. An employer should not ask you any illegal question during the interview, unlike other applicants.
  3. An employer should not treat differently employees who are, or may get pregnant. You should continue with your roles as usual. If you are unable to handle the same tasks, for instance, heavy lifting, you are entitled to sick leaves or perhaps task modifications.
  4. An employer should provide you with health benefits to cover your medical expenses when you are pregnant. The employer should also do so when your spouse is pregnant.
  5. An employer should not ask you for a pregnant notice.
  6. An employer should not discriminate employees who have had an abortion or had considered doing it.

Do you have to tell your potential or current employer you are pregnant?

Firstly, an employer should not refuse to hire you because you are pregnant unless you don’t meet the qualifications. An employer should not ask you if you are pregnant or you are planning to have children. So, you may choose to tell him or keep the information for yourself. However, this should not be a consideration during the hiring process.

When it comes to your current employer, you may want to notify him or her in advance. In due time, the pregnancy will eventually show up. So, notify your employer for work schedule planning. During the pregnancy period, you will want to take leaves and sick off days. By telling your employer in advance, they will know how they will handle your situation. Under the law, they should not fire or demote you. Instead, they should alternate your duties, simplify or modify your duties or give you sick leave.

Will employer compel you to take sick leaves or prevent you from performing specific roles?

An employer cannot compel you to take a leave when you are pregnant. As long as you can handle your duties, then you can continue with your job. In case you are unable to continue with your roles, at your own will, you may decide to take sick leave and come back once you deliver.

Additionally, an employer may not prevent you from performing some given roles. If you can handle these roles correctly, your employer should not deny you the tasks. However, he may comply with a doctor’s statement that is deterring you from performing specific duties such as heavy lifting tasks.

Bottom line

Discrimination during pregnancy at the workplace is a felony. No one should be treated differently from others because they are pregnant. If you are capable of doing your work, your employer should not prevent you from performing your roles. It is your right, and the law firmly protects you.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.