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Protections against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

Women should not have to suffer discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. Pregnancy discrimination against them based on one of the circumstances is prohibited and pregnant women and their families should be aware of that and what they can do if they have been discriminated against.

What is prohibited?

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants for employment and employees based on their pregnancy status. This means that employers must treat pregnant applicants for employment and employees as they would other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. Women also cannot be discriminated against based on pregnancy, child birth or related medical conditions.

A good example is if the employer provides benefits to workers on leave, the same or similar benefits must be provided by the employer to employees who are on leave for a pregnancy-related medical condition. Health insurance benefits that are provided must also cover pregnancy-related medical care on the same basis as other medical care would be covered.

Employers also cannot limit the benefits or employment on the basis of pregnancy. For example, a promotion or pay increase cannot be denied on the basis of pregnancy. Employers also cannot take negative actions against an employee because of pregnancy such as refusing to promote or cutting their pay on the basis of pregnancy.

Employment law protections are available at the state and federal level which is why it is helpful for women experiencing to pregnancy discrimination to be familiar with the different protections available to them. It is important for pregnant employees to be protected and to know the protections available to them to ensure their rights are protected.

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