Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is a serious issue that affects many women, impacting their professional lives and overall well-being. Recognizing and understanding what this form of discrimination looks like is the first step in combating it.
It is important to understand that pregnancy discrimination can manifest in various ways, from hiring and firing decisions to harassment and failure to accommodate medical needs. Therefore, if you are concerned that you are grappling with this form of unlawful mistreatment, it may be wise to seek legal guidance even if you are unsure of whether your case is actionable or not. After all, pregnancy discrimination isn’t always overt and obvious.
Common forms of workplace pregnancy discrimination
One of the most blatant forms of pregnancy discrimination occurs during the hiring process. Employers might refuse to hire a pregnant applicant, wrongly assuming that her pregnancy will affect her work performance or attendance. Similarly, an employer might deny a promotion to a pregnant employee due to her condition, which is illegal.
Dismissing an employee because she is pregnant, or forcing her to take leave, are clear signs of pregnancy discrimination. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and cannot force them out of their jobs due to pregnancy or their decision to take legally-protected maternity leave.
Some employers may unjustly change a pregnant employee’s job duties or demote her, using her pregnancy as an excuse. This can include removing responsibilities, limiting opportunities for advancement or shifting her to a less desirable role without a valid reason.
From harassment to denial of medical leave, retaliation to the inspiration of a hostile work environment, pregnancy-related discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. As a result, assessing any concerning circumstances carefully by seeking legal guidance can be wise.