How to Recognize Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

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How to Recognize Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

According to The Civil Rights Act of 1964, no job candidate or employee may be discriminated against for their sexual orientation, national origin, religion, race, disability, or gender identity. Fourteen years later, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 extended anti-discriminatory protections to pregnancy.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 further codified these anti-discriminatory measures. It added additional rules to ensure that eligible employees were granted protection if they needed to take leave from work for medical reasons. Together, The Family Leave Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination act provide protection for pregnant employees.   

Despite the laws, pregnancy Discrimination still happens in the workplace. Pregnant employees must look for warning signs to determine whether the employer’s behavior is unlawful and take action.

To learn more about what you can do if you or a loved one is experiencing pregnancy Discrimination, visit https://hkm.com/boston/discrimination/pregnancy-discrimination/.

Unlawful Actions

An employer may not discriminate against an employee based on pregnancy – whether the employee is pregnant or may soon become pregnant. An employer also may not discriminate against an employee whose loved one is pregnant or may become pregnant.

An employer may not base hiring or firing decisions on a potential employee’s pregnancy or future pregnancy status. Additionally, they may not demote, fire, or retaliate against a pregnant employee.

According to the law, pregnancy is considered a medical condition. As with all medical conditions, an employer must make reasonable and temporary accommodations.

Warning Signs of Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy Discrimination takes many forms, and it can be blatant or subtle. Employees must be vigilant about any inappropriate behavior – no matter how seemingly insignificant.

While the following actions and warning signs are already a form of harassment, they often lead to more severe actions by the employer later. Recognizing and documenting the warning signs will help you prepare a legal response if things go wrong later on.

Inappropriate Questions

When you are interviewed for a position, it’s reasonable for hiring managers to ask you about your personal or family life – but watch out if they ask you about wanting children or if you have children. If you are male, be especially wary of probing questions about your spouse’s pregnancy status and if you plan to have a big family.

 “Offhand” Comments

If you get married, be on the look out for questions and comments from your employer or manager about wanting to have children or IVF. While these comments may seem innocent, your employer or manager may be trying to gauge if you’ll need maternity or paternity leave.  

Not-So-Subtle Jokes

Physically, pregnancy can be taxing. However, depending on the nature of your duties, you may still be able to work without special accommodations from your employer. However, be wary if your manager or boss jokes about your inability to keep up with your workload due to your pregnancy.

Sudden Reduction in Duties

 Suppose your employer suddenly reduces your duties without you asking for the reduction. In that case, they may be laying the framework for a dismissal case because you were not performing at the required level.  

Resistance to Reasonable Accommodations

While you are pregnant, you are entitled to accommodations as long as they are reasonable. If you perform strenuous activities at work, it is reasonable to request temporarily adjusting your duties to less physical ones. Consider it a warning sign if your employer is reluctant to provide reasonable accommodations.  

Originally posted 2022-06-14 04:39:27.

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