What are signs of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace?

Frank S. Clowney III

When you’re pregnant, you have a lot to think about. It shouldn’t include the way you’re treated by your employer or a prospective employer when you’re expecting a baby.

Under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is unlawful for employers with 15 or more employees to treat a woman who is pregnant differently from others in the workforce. Still, it happens in Southern California and throughout the nation.

What are some of the signs of discrimination when it comes to a pregnant woman?

  • Refusing to hire or promote her
  • Firing her because of her condition
  • Asking questions of her in a job interview that men or nonpregnant women would not be asked
  • Not allowing her to continue to do her job if she desires to and physically is able to
  • Treating her differently if she chooses to have an abortion
  • Failing to hold a job open for her as they would other employees who take disability leave
  • Not providing health insurance that covers pregnancy or failing to cover pregnancy-related conditions as they would other health issues
  • Not providing pregnancy benefits to single woman that are similar to those of married women
  • Demanding notes from doctors for a pregnant employee’s absence if they don’t demand it employees with other conditions

Remember that if you are pregnant and can’t do your job – your job requires you to lift heavy boxes, for example – your employer is required to treat you the same way other temporarily disabled employees are, such as by providing you with alternative job duties, if available.

If your employer, or a prospective employer, is treating you differently because of your pregnancy, your rights are being violated. You do have legal recourse.