Bringing a new child into your family is an exciting event, but workplace discrimination can take this joyous occasion and turn it into a challenge. Thousands of workers experience pregnancy discrimination every year, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that pregnancy discrimination results in millions of dollars in damages. Worse, this discrimination can do long-term damage to their careers.
Pregnancy discrimination comes in many different forms.
Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an applicant or employee experiences unfair treatment because of pregnancy or related medical conditions. This mistreatment can occur in many different employment settings, and even small comments can contribute to a hostile environment for pregnant employees. Some of the many forms of pregnancy discrimination include:
- Asking questions about pregnancy during a job interview
- Refusing to hire qualified applicants based on their pregnancy status
- Denying employees advancement opportunities or training opportunities due to pregnancy
- Not offering pregnant employees the health coverage or medical leave they are due
- Harassment of pregnant employees
- Not offering reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees who continue their work
- Denying employees their previous position after maternity leave
It is also important to remember that employees do not need to be pregnant to experience pregnancy discrimination. Refusal to hire someone based on their desire to have children in the future or the possibility that they could become pregnant is also discrimination.
Have you experienced pregnancy discrimination?
If you have experienced unfair treatment because of your pregnancy status, the law offers you protection. Federal laws forbid discriminatory hiring and firing practices and protect your right to disability pay, healthcare coverage and other benefits, and you can take legal action against your employer if they discriminate against you.