Navigating Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Navigating Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace


Pregnancy should be a time of joy and anticipation, not stress and anxiety over job security. Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination remains a significant issue in many workplaces. In this blog, we’ll explore what constitutes pregnancy discrimination, your legal rights, and steps you can take if you experience discrimination at work.


What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. This type of discrimination can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Hiring Practices: Refusing to hire someone because they are pregnant or may become pregnant.
  • Job Assignments: Reassigning an employee to a less desirable position due to their pregnancy.
  • Promotions and Pay: Denying a promotion or pay raise because of pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Firing or Demotion: Terminating or demoting an employee because of their pregnancy.

Your Legal Rights

Several federal laws protect pregnant employees from discrimination:

  1. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA): This law prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. It mandates that pregnant employees must be treated the same as other employees with similar abilities or limitations.
  2. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth and care of a newborn or for a serious health condition. The FMLA ensures job protection and continuation of health insurance during this leave.
  3. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): If pregnancy-related conditions qualify as disabilities, employers must provide reasonable accommodations unless it causes undue hardship.

Recognizing Pregnancy Discrimination

Recognizing pregnancy discrimination can sometimes be challenging. Here are some red flags to watch for:

  • Unwarranted Job Changes: Sudden changes in job duties or reassignment to less favorable positions.
  • Hostile Work Environment: Negative comments or actions from supervisors or coworkers related to your pregnancy.
  • Leave Denials: Unjustified denial of maternity or medical leave.
  • Unfair Evaluations: Receiving poor performance reviews without valid reasons, especially after announcing your pregnancy.

Steps to Take if You Experience Discrimination

If you believe you are facing pregnancy discrimination, it’s essential to take action promptly:

  1. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of any discriminatory actions, including dates, times, and the individuals involved. Save any relevant emails or documents.
  2. Report the Discrimination: Inform your employer’s HR department or follow your company’s procedure for reporting discrimination. Ensure your complaint is in writing.
  3. Seek Legal Advice: Consult with an employment attorney experienced in pregnancy discrimination cases. They can help you understand your rights and the best course of action.
  4. File a Complaint: If internal reporting doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s fair employment agency.

Talk to an Experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney Now

Sexual harassment may not be “easy” to recognize, fight, or forget about — that doesn’t mean you have to ignore it or let the perpetrators get away with violating your rights. Consulting with an experienced sexual harassment lawyer at The Spiggle Law Firm can give you the answers, support, and counsel you need to take the right steps moving forward.

Call (202) 643-5974 or email us for a free, confidential consultation and more answers about a potential sexual harassment claim.

At The Spiggle Law Firm, our 5-star lawyers represent clients in all types of sexual harassment claims, providing strategic representation and client-focused service in the pursuit of optimal outcomes and the maximum available recoveries. We are ready to help you seek the justice you may deserve.

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