Although it is illegal for employers in California and elsewhere to discriminate against employees due to pregnancy, many pregnant women still experience discrimination in the workplace. This is particularly true for pregnant women who work for large corporations.
For example, one pregnant employee said that she endured sexist comments while working. She was also told that her career would plateau as a result of becoming pregnant and having a child. She said that when talking to her boss about her potential future career moves, she was told there was no place for her due to her age and the fact that she was having a child. Another single mother was not allowed to have a break on the job due to morning sickness until she got a note from her doctor. At that point, her supervisor told her that she was a liability to the company and that she should consider applying for unpaid leave.
Employers are not allowed to not hire an employee due to her pregnancy or future plans of pregnancy due to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. This also means that employers cannot discriminate against employees for medical issues relating to pregnancy and childbirth, such as morning sickness.
Although pregnancy discrimination is illegal, some companies try to disguise their discrimination against pregnant employees. There are a variety of strategies that companies may use, including passing over employees for promotion, demoting employees or reducing the number of shifts they have. Employers may even terminate an employee on the basis of pregnancy while providing other reasons for the termination. If there is evidence that workplace discrimination occurred and resulted in losses for the employee, an employment law attorney may investigate the claims and any evidence demonstrating that the employer discriminated against the employee.