If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you may be concerned to tell your boss. You may worry about the potential for discrimination. Alternatively, if your employer already knows you are pregnant, you may wonder if you are being treated unfairly as a result.
You should not need to worry about pregnancy discrimination, and you may have more rights that you realize. Unfortunately, your concerns could be valid because pregnancy discrimination still does occur in many workplaces.
7 actions that can count as pregnancy discrimination
You may have experienced pregnancy discrimination if your employer:
- Denied you terms, conditions or privileges of employment
- Gave you a poor review
- Terminated your employment
- Denied you assignments
- Demoted you
- Passed you up for a promotion
- Reduced your pay
Although these actions are some possible example of discrimination, pregnancy does not necessarily give you a free pass either. For example, your employer may be able to legally terminate your employment as long as it is not because of pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition.
This means that if you stop caring about your work and are no longer doing your job, your employer could have a valid reason to fire you. On the other hand, if your employer finds out you are pregnant and then fires you because of your pregnancy, your employer’s actions may have broken the law.
You may be able to receive reasonable accommodations
However, sometimes a situation is not so simple. Maybe you really do care about your job, but you are temporarily unable to perform your duties because of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. In this situation, your employer may be legally obligated to offer you reasonable accommodations.
Your employer must treat you the same way as other employees who are temporarily unable to perform their duties. For example, if your employer assigns light duty to injured employees, then it may be fair to allow you to work light duty assignments.
Every situation can be a little different, and sometimes it can be complicated for an employee to determine exactly when her rights have or have not been violated. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, it may be prudent to brush up on your legal rights. When you fully understand your rights, you will be in a better position to ensure you receive all the protections you are entitled to receive.
If you believe your employer may be discriminating against you because of pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, it may be advantageous to keep a record of the incidents and maintain good records of your work. It may also be reasonable to file a charge of discrimination against your employer.