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2 common forms of pregnancy discrimination

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2023 | Employment Discrimination

Some women in Pennsylvania become pregnant because they have made a concerted effort to conceive. For others, pregnancy develops as an unanticipated medical condition. Yet, regardless of whether or not a pregnant woman planned in advance to have a child, she will have a few challenges ahead of her if she works for a living and isn’t her own boss.

A small subset of women find it difficult to continue working for the duration of their pregnancies either because of health issues or because of their employers’ attitudes. Although there are laws that prohibit discrimination based on medical conditions, including pregnancy, employers often treat workers differently during or after pregnancy. Such discrimination may lead to lawsuits, provided that workers understand and make use of their rights. These are two of the more common ways that employers discriminate against pregnant workers.

A failure to accommodate functional limitations

Every woman has a different physical reaction to pregnancy. Underlying health conditions, maternal age and even the blood type of the unborn baby can influence how difficult pregnancy is for the expectant mother. Some women can perform their job responsibilities until the moment they go into labor. Others may develop high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or other challenges that will limit what job functions they can perform.

Restrictions on how long women stay on their feet and how much they lift are among the most common medical limitations imposed during pregnancy. Some employers refuse to accommodate a pregnant worker to allow her to keep her job even though she has clear medical documentation affirming the need for those accommodations and it would be simple for the company to work with the woman instead of firing her.

Refusal to let a worker come back to her job

Some employers are not subject to the rules of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because they are such small companies. Sadly, even when the FMLA clearly applies, businesses might still try to deny a woman the right to return after paid or unpaid maternity leave. Some companies make returning to work a miserable experience. Others try to demote someone who has taken maternity leave or move them to a different shift as punishment. Those retaliatory actions are violations of someone’s right to take leave and then return to work after a major medical issue, like childbirth.

Pregnant women and new mothers who have experienced discrimination related to their pregnancy may have to take legal action if they want to hold their employer accountable for unlawful mistreatment. Pursuing a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit is one way to force a company to change and recoup the losses someone has suffered because of a business’s misconduct.