Pregnancy Discrimination In The Workplace

Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace isn't just unethical, it's against the law. Find out what to do if your boss discriminates against you!

Something an expectant mother should never have to worry about is Pregnancy Discrimination In the Workplace. Unfortunately, even with today’s standards and anti-discrimination laws, it is still often an issue. While we hope you don’t face this with your pregnancy, we can give you some pointers on how to handle a situation if it arises. If you feel you are being discriminated against during your pregnancy, there are things you can do to correct it and protect yourself and your work position.

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Pregnancy Discrimination In the Workplace

Keep a journal. If you feel that your employer is treating you differently due to your pregnancy, make sure that you document those behaviors. Changes in schedules, derogatory comments or even a demotion can all be considered discrimination depending upon circumstances. If you don’t have documentation to back up your claims, you cannot protect yourself.

Remember that many states can fire with or without cause. Check your individual state labor and wage board for their restrictions on being fired without cause. Some states allow an employer to fire without any cause. In those cases, it can be very tough to fight in court if you believe you were discriminated against due to your pregnancy. Educate yourself on your state laws regarding discrimination and the employer right to fire without cause.

Recognize the difference between discrimination and safety concerns. In some workplaces, it is for both your safety and others that you be moved to a different position while pregnant. There are many factories, assembly lines and even medical field positions that can be dangerous for a woman who is pregnant. An x-ray technician may need to take time off from that position, or work in different areas of the department to avoid being around x-rays during pregnancy. Before you jump to the conclusion that you are being discriminated against, make sure you understand the big picture.

Sexual harassment is often associated with pregnancy. The snide comments regarding being, “knocked up” or asking about intimate details of your pregnancy and physical changes can be considered sexual harassment. If you are being approached in an intimate or sexual nature, or questions that are inappropriate in nature are coming up, then it may be sexual harassment and not pregnancy discrimination.

As you enjoy the changes your body goes through during pregnancy, you should not be concerned about pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Consider your current job when you make plans to try to become pregnant. Think about how it will affect you while pregnant, as well as how well you will be able to perform your job while pregnant. While you should never be asked to leave due to pregnancy, you must accept that some jobs you will not be able to do while pregnant. Don’t put yourself or your employer in the position of having to make a potentially difficult decision about your employment while pregnant. Be proactive, aware and alert to how you are treated.

Have you ever dealt with pregnancy discrimination in the workplace? How did you handle it?

16 thoughts on “Pregnancy Discrimination In The Workplace”

  1. This is such an important post. I know a lot of people who have gone to great lengths to postpone getting pregnant or deny some of the symptoms of pregnancy.

  2. Very good information. I worked at a dealership while I was pregnant with my second child. I was not harrassed but I was bothered. It never got to the extreme where I was uncomfortable but there was one guy who would constantly talk to me when he was supposed to be selling cars.

  3. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    This is an important post for expecting mothers to read. I’ve seen some pregnant women being treated horrifically in the workplace.

  4. This is a great post indeed and a topic most people don’t think about. Great list here to protect yourself against pregnancy in the workplace. Kudos to you for spreading the word.

  5. Although I haven’t experienced it personally, I’ve seen a lot of this, and I’ve even heard of employers not hiring women of childbearing age simply because they don’t want to deal with them taking 12 weeks off for maternity leave. It’s sad.

  6. Being pregnant is such a life changing event, I would hate to think women are actually harassed during this time! Thank for this reminder that if it happens, to recognize it, report it and stand up for yourself!

  7. I don’t think it’s right, but seems to be relevant in all workplaces around the world! On the flip side, I worked in an office where 20 people were pregnant at the same time and was unable to hire additional people while people were out on maternity leave, resulting in the rest of the workers having to do a lot more work, resulting in a decrease in office happiness

  8. It is really sad that at this day and age someone would still have to worry about this. I would think lots of documentation, early if possible, is your best bet.

  9. Pregnancy Discrimination In the Workplace is awful! If I’ve learned anything from court shows it’s keep ALL emails! If someone Discriminates you, email them saying it was hurtful and if they reply saying something like “all well..” that can be an act of acknowledgement!

  10. Pregnancy discrimination can be a very real issue and difficult to document–what is even harder is being able to land a good job while you have young children. Go try and probe that one!! While I have no children and have never had this happen to me–I have seen it happen.

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