December 13, 2022
Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their pregnancy status. In addition, according to the Family Medical Leave Act, employees who have been with their company for more than a year are entitled to at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave surrounding pregnancy and birth.
Once upon a time, employers would use pregnancy as a reason to avoid hiring a woman or as grounds for termination. Back then, discrimination was blatant. It was not uncommon for a woman to be asked in an interview whether or not she planned to have children and base hiring decisions around that. Today, pregnancy discrimination is much more subtle, but it is very much alive.
Here are a few examples of what modern pregnancy discrimination can look like:
- You are pressured to leave a job based on your pregnancy status. This type of pressure can take many forms, but it is often done through guilt. If you hear something like, “I just don’t know how we are going to complete this work without you here… it would be so much easier to have someone on full-time who can stay in the position. We have some fantastic candidates applying for your position…”, that can be interpreted as pressuring you to quit your job.
- You are not provided with reasonable accommodations. If your job requires you to lift heavy objects, your employer needs to find another solution for you during your pregnancy. Shifting responsibilities and having others lift for you is vital for both your health and the health of your baby. If they insist that you continue to lift heavy objects at your own risk, that can be considered discrimination.
- Your job is not held for you during maternity leave. If you are replaced while you are out for 12 weeks recovering from birth, that can be considered discrimination under the law.
- You are given negative reviews saying that your pregnancy or your newborn are distracting you from completing your work duties. If this is said to you while you are maintaining your normal work output level, it could be a discriminatory practice, and your employer could be laying the groundwork to let you go.
If you believe you are facing pregnancy discrimination at work, contact Para Los Trabajadores today.