November 3, 2020
Starting a family is a lovely thing, but sadly, it also gives many working women anxiety. Employment surrounding pregnancy leave can get complicated and confusing. Many women fear that they are unconsciously or subtly discriminated against in the workplace based on the time they take off to deliver, recover, and care for their new child. If you plan on starting a family while employed, it is important to understand your workplace rights. It is also vital for you to be able to recognize subtle discrimination when it is happening.
Below is a list of legal rights that pregnant women enjoy, followed by examples of common discriminatory practices to look out for.
Legal Rights Surrounding Pregnancy:
- Women are legally allowed to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy and childbirth. A job cannot be given away within those 12 weeks.
- Pregnant women must be treated the same as other employees. Still, employers must respect their physical limitations the same way they would respect someone’s physical limitations with a disability. For example, it is unlawful for a company to require pregnant women to lift and carry heavy objects. These are considered to be reasonable accommodations.
- Your employer is required to continue your health coverage during your time away from work.
Examples of discrimination that pregnant women face:
- Pregnant women are often passed over for positions of leadership and promotions since employers fear that time away from work for childbirth will negatively impact the company.
- Pregnant women are not always provided with reasonable accommodations.
- Pregnant women have to handle the refusal to support breast pumping in the workplace with reasonable breaks and a private area.
- Pregnant women are often harassed for their condition. This includes derogatory comments and unwelcome and offensive jokes.
If you suspect that your rights as a pregnant woman are being violated in the workplace, you will need legal representation. If it is happening to you, it has likely happened to women before you and will continue to happen until someone stands up to this offensive behavior. Contact Para Los Trabajadores with details about your situation, and we can help make things fair for you and every other woman trying to start a family in your workplace. Don’t wait, call today.