Pregnancy is a time of joy and anticipation for many women. However, for some, it can also be a time of discrimination and unfair treatment in the workplace.
Pregnancy discrimination is any unfavorable treatment that a woman may experience during pregnancy or after childbirth, affecting her employment status or opportunities.
If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, you are not alone. According to a National Partnership for Women and Families survey, as many as one in four women report experiencing discrimination at work during pregnancy or after childbirth. This discrimination can take many forms, including denial of promotion, harassment, demotion or even termination.
Understanding pregnancy discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination can occur in a variety of ways. For example, an employer may refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant or deny her a promotion. An employer may also refuse to provide reasonable accommodations, such as allowing more frequent breaks, providing a stool to sit on or allowing a pregnant woman to avoid heavy lifting.
It is important to note that pregnancy discrimination is illegal. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This means employers cannot treat pregnant women differently from other employees when it comes to hiring, promotions, pay or any other terms or conditions of employment.
What to do if you experience pregnancy discrimination
If you believe you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, it is important to take action. The first step is to document any incidents of discrimination, including the date, time, and nature of the incident and the names of any witnesses. You should also keep any emails, memos, or other documentation that supports your claim.
You may also want to consider talking to your employer’s human resources department or filing a complaint with the company’s internal grievance procedure. If you are part of a union, you may be able to seek support from your union representative. You have rights in this situation, so make sure you use them.