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What does pregnancy discrimination look like?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), thousands of employees experience pregnancy discrimination every year. In order to fight back against this unfair behavior, it is important to understand the many forms that pregnancy discrimination can take. What actions might be considered illegal pregnancy discrimination?

Discrimination may begin during the hiring process.

Pregnancy discrimination during the hiring process can significantly impact employees’ ability to find a job or advance within a company. Refusing to hire or promote an employee based on a current pregnancy or because they may become pregnant in the future cuts them off from employment opportunities. Even asking about an employee’s current pregnancy status or their plans to have children in the future can unfairly influence hiring decisions.

Hostile treatment can come in many forms.

After a pregnancy announcement, employees may experience unfair treatment within their workplace because of that pregnancy. This discrimination can include:

  • Firing pregnant employees or preventing employees from returning to work after parental leave
  • Hostile comments, jokes and other harassment toward pregnant employees
  • Refusing to offer pregnant employees reasonable accommodations like light duty, a modified work schedule or medical leave when they are eligible for those accommodations
  • Offering an employee insurance plan that does not provide coverage for pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions
  • Disciplining employees for taking time off for prenatal care when other employees are not subject to the same discipline for medical treatments not related to pregnancy
  • Forcing pregnant employees to go on medical leave when they can work

Because pregnancy discrimination can impact your career long after the birth of your child, it can be important to speak to an attorney if you experience this unfair treatment. They can help you explore your options and fight to protect your rights in the workplace.


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