Pregnancy is often described as one of the most joyous times in a woman’s life. Women who’ve been discriminated against at work because of their pregnancies, though, feel anxiety and worry instead. Thankfully, both state and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against pregnant women. If you think that your employer is treating you poorly or forcing you to miss work because you’re pregnant, contact the team at Leeds Brown Law to discuss your rights.
It’s important to remember that pregnancy can affect your ability to work. If you’re not able to complete your regular job duties because you’re pregnant, your employer can require you to take time off work. However, if you are able to handle your job duties, your employer can’t force you to take time off or otherwise treat you unfairly. You don’t even have to let your boss know that you’re pregnant until your pregnancy is likely to interfere with your job duties.
What Does Pregnancy Discrimination Look Like?
Discrimination experts consider discrimination against pregnant women another form of gender discrimination. Bosses who treat pregnant employees differently are usually making decisions based on stereotypes or outmoded beliefs that have been proven untrue. Firing a woman who is pregnant or forcing her to take a different job within the same company are good examples of pregnancy-based discrimination.
Pregnancy discrimination can also take the form of being passed up for a promotion or being denied a bonus. Bosses may even make comments stating that they don’t believe pregnant women are able to work or should be allowed to work. These types of actions are forbidden by law and can land a company in hot water.
Many people associate labor-intensive jobs in industries such as construction and manufacturing with pregnancy discrimination. However, unfair treatment of pregnant women exists in all industries. Women who work in high-level corporate jobs with demanding work hours are the most likely to be discriminated against. Unfortunately, this type of discrimination is often hard to detect.
Pregnancy Discrimination is Prohibited by State and Federal Laws
A number of state and federal laws expressly prohibit discrimination against pregnant women by employers. One of the most important is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which is an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The PDA prohibits any type of discrimination against a woman in a workplace that is based on her pregnancy. It protects pregnant women from discrimination in
- job training,
- job assignments,
- layoffs and
The PDA says that pregnant women should be given the same at-work considerations and accommodations as temporarily disabled individuals. It’s important to understand that the PDA and other federal discrimination laws only apply to companies with 15 or more employees.
Women are also protected from being unfairly fired because they need to take time off for the delivery of a baby and postpartum recovery. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) says that employers must given 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to both mothers and fathers who need it because of the birth of a child. In New York, state law provides similar protections for women even if they work for companies with less than 15 employees.
Maybe you think you were discriminated against when you were pregnant, but you believe you’re too late to do anything about it. The statute of limitations to bring an action can be short under the PDA. However, you can still generally pursue a claim after you’ve had a child. Remember that pregnancy discrimination can have long-term effects on your life and career. It’s essential to protect your rights if you are or have been discriminated against because of pregnancy. The law doesn’t allow your boss to treat you differently than your coworkers because you’re pregnant. If you’re being discriminated against, get in touch with an attorney who understands pregnancy discrimination law today.