Pregnancy Discrimination In The Workplace: What Does It Look Like?

Bringing a child into the world is a journey that should be full of joy; it should not be one full of stress from an employer. It is illegal for a company to discriminate against a female employer due to pregnancy. Discover what this form of discrimination looks like to know if you are a victim.

Refusal to Hire

When an employer refuses to hire an applicant solely based on the fact that she is pregnant, this action is a form of discrimination. For instance, the applicant has all the credentials for the position, she has completed several interviews, and she been told she was the top applicant; however, once her pregnancy was discovered, the company was no longer interested. 

It's important to note that while this behavior is wrong, proving discrimination in this instance is a challenge. The individual would need to prove without a doubt that their pregnancy was the only reason the company decided not to hire them, which isn't always easy to do.

Asking About Childbirth Plans

An employer has no right to ask a person about their childbirth plans and punish them as a result. Discrimination in this instance could look like a supervisor asking a female employee whether or not she plans to have a child in the next year. If she says yes and is shortly after fired, demoted, or passed over for a promotion, for this reason, this scenario is a form of discrimination. 

An employer is never allowed to ask an employee about their medical status, for starters, and secondly, altering the career path of a person simply because they want to become pregnant is wrong. An employee in this instance would need to link the conversation to the subsequent actions to prove their case.

Not Granting Role Accommodations

When a woman is pregnant, her body goes through all sorts of changes. For some women, these changes might alter the type of work they can do, especially if the role requires a great deal of physical activity. Pregnant women can have conditions like back pain, sciatica, and gestational diabetes, all of which are considered covered conditions included with pregnancy.

If the employer refuses to make accommodations for a woman dealing with pregnancy-related conditions, such as allowing her time to check her blood sugar due to gestational diabetes, their behavior is discriminatory.  

Even if your situation doesn't fit within these guidelines, you should still reach out to an employment discrimination attorney. Discrimination can surface in a variety of different ways, so you could still be a victim.