You have the right to work without fear of discrimination or harassment, but unfortunately, employers do not always respect this right. You may find that you are a victim of discrimination for a variety of reasons, including your pregnancy. While having a baby should be a time of excitement, it could also negatively impact your career. If this happened to you, you do not have to suffer in silence.
Pregnancy discrimination is a real complication for many women in the workplace. This can happen in many ways, and you may not be certain that what you are experiencing counts as discrimination. If you are unsure or want to take steps to fight for a beneficial outcome to your situation, you may find it helpful to reach out for appropriate legal help.
What is pregnancy discrimination?
It is illegal for an employer to factor a pregnancy into any aspect of employment decisions. This includes decisions in hiring, firing, promotions, training offerings and more. Your employer also cannot use your pregnancy as a reason to take away benefits, change your insurance or take any other steps to avoid fees or cause you harm. Here are additional facts you may not know about pregnancy discrimination:
- If your pregnancy leaves you unable to do some of your job duties for a short period of time, your employer has to treat you as a temporarily disabled employee.
- Certain pregnancy-related medical complications, such as gestational diabetes or hypertension, could be qualified as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Your employer cannot harass you in any way because of your pregnancy, including saying inappropriate things or threatening to terminate your position if you take maternity leave.
- You have the right to take needed unpaid medical leave because of your pregnancy or after childbirth under the Family Medical Leave Act. Your employer has to hold your job for at least 12 weeks.
If you think you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination, it may help to seek an assessment of your case. This step can help you understand if it is appropriate to move forward with a civil claim.
Who is accountable?
There is no excuse for pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. California employers are accountable for discriminatory treatment that happens in their places of business. This means that you can fight for justice and pursue appropriate damages for your mental and emotional suffering as well as any financial losses you experienced as a result of what you experienced.