Being pregnant is something that some women look forward to. The thought of starting a family or expanding their family makes them very excited. The joy might turn to trepidation when she realizes that her pregnancy isn’t really welcome news.
There are some instances in which the pregnant employee might face discrimination or harassment. This is illegal because of laws that aim to prevent pregnant women from having to deal with this atrocious behavior. Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy discrimination:
From hiring to firing and everything in between
The laws that forbid pregnancy discrimination cover everything from pregnancy during the hiring process through it being considered during the termination process. It is illegal for employers to consider the woman’s condition as a reason to avoid hiring her, for work-related decisions while she is employed or for termination purposes if the company has to let someone go.
A pregnant woman has to be offered all of the same benefits and the same pay as other comparable workers. This includes things like health insurance, life insurance, vacation time, paid sick leave and similar benefits. Employers can’t pick and choose whom to offer benefits to based on whether a worker is pregnant.
Time off due to pregnancy
Taking time off for the birth of the baby or for pregnancy-related medical needs can be tricky. Most employers will allow the woman to take this time without giving her any issues. Women can count on limited unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, if she meets the requirements for the leave. Some women have protections in the contract they have for the job.
It is imperative that you follow the established procedures for alerting your employer that you need time off for the pregnancy. Failing to do this might mean that you aren’t able to get the time off that you need.
Some pregnant women will need accommodations at work. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for these women. The actual accommodations vary based on the circumstances. A stool to sit on or more frequent breaks are two examples of accommodations that might be necessary.
Retaliation is forbidden
Employers aren’t allowed to retaliate against employees due to a pregnancy or because she makes a complaint regarding harassment or discrimination based on her condition. Retaliatory measures can be anything from a pay cut or shift change to termination. Employees who have to deal with discrimination, harassment or retaliation might choose to take legal action.