While sexism in the workplace is a well-known phenomenon, there are special laws that protect pregnant women. Pregnancy discrimination is insiduous and common, and it can be difficult to discern what is an act of discrimination against a pregnant woman.
Overall, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for an employer to discrimination against employees based on pregnancy. According to FindLaw, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits an employer taking an adverse action like termination or demotion against a pregnant employee.
What protections does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act specifically provide?
Generally speaking, an employer must provide the same benefits and uphold the same requirements of all employees, whether they are pregnant or not. In the event that an employer offers various employee benefits like retirement, disability or health insurance benefits, these must cover pregnancy and its related conditions in the same way that it covers other medical conditions.
For instance, If an employer requires that any employee provide a doctor’s note before allocating paid sick leave for any short-term disabilities, then the employer may apply this requirement to a pregnant employee requesting paid sick leave. However, if the employer does not require this for non-pregnancy sick leave, the employer may not apply this to a pregnant employee.
What else should I know?
Essentially, a company may not treat a pregnant employee any differently than a non-pregnant employee. Employers may not discriminate against employees for being pregnant, needing leave for pregnancy-related health concerns or for considering an abortion. If you believe that an employer has discriminated against you for being pregnant, seeking professional advice is a good next step.