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Can you be fired because you're pregnant?

If you're thinking of starting a family, you may be worried that it will cost you your job. Your employer will know that you'll be out of work for some time, after all, so could the company just decide to fire you and replace you with someone who isn't pregnant? This may especially be a fear of yours if you get paid time off and you think the company does not want to cover it.

You can put those concerns aside. Legally speaking, you cannot be fired because you are pregnant.

In fact, discrimination of any kind is not allowed on this basis, just like you can't be discriminated against due to your race, your gender, your religion, or anything else. This means that your pregnancy can't impact what hours you work, whether or not you get a raise, whether or not you're hired in the first place, your right to a bonus, your ability to get a promotion, or anything else. You must be treated exactly the same as the rest of the workers.

While pregnancy may impact your ability to do your job, your employer simply needs to treat the situation like a temporary disability. For example, if you can no longer lift heavy items, the company needs to find work for you to do that doesn't include lifting such items. At the very least, they need to give you unpaid leave so that you can take time off when you need it.

Have you been fired or discriminated against because you're pregnant? If so, you need to know what legal options you have in Michigan.

Source: EEOC, "Pregnancy Discrimination," accessed March 31, 2016

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