When a woman gets the news that she is pregnant, she is likely so thrilled that she is not thinking about anything else. However, once reality sinks in, some women will pause and think how this will impact her current job and future career options. While laws have been passed to protect a woman’s job while she is pregnant and on maternity leave, it does not always play out like this. In some situations, women feel discriminated against due to their pregnancy due to their treatment at work, a demotion or even the loss of their job.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for a woman to be discriminated against at work due to her pregnancy. This includes any aspect of employment, which includes hiring, firing, pay, promotions, training, job assignments, layoff, fringe benefits and any other terms or conditions of their employment. Additionally, under this federal law, if a woman is unable to perform her regular job duties due to a medical condition related to her pregnancy, the employer is to treat her in the same matter as they would treat any employee with a temporary disability.
While federal law already protects pregnant women, a bipartisan legislation was proposed to provide job protection for women. This was important, as roughly three-quarters of women that enter the workforce will be pregnant while employed at some point in their lives. This legislation will make it unlawful for an employer to refuse a pregnant employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation related to a pregnancy unless it would cause undue hardship to the employer.
Whether it is seeking accommodations during a pregnancy or taking time off to care for a newborn, pregnant employees are protected under certain laws. If an employee believes these rights have been violated, it is important to understand that they have the right to take action. This not only holds an employer accountable for this violation but could also help address the damages suffered as a result.