Pregnancy discrimination is something that is forbidden on a federal level thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This is an amendment to the commonly cited Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A pregnant woman can’t be denied a position just because of her pregnancy. This includes the initial hiring, as well as promotions. It doesn’t matter if the prejudice about her condition comes from what owners, supervisors or customers think.
Women who are pregnant can’t be fired simply because of being pregnant. They also can’t be given a demotion, pay cut or less desirable shift because of the pregnancy.
Another area of employment that is covered is benefits. Pregnant women can’t be denied benefits, including health or life insurance, based on their medical status. If a woman qualifies for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), she must be given that time off. Failing to do so can also lead to claims of discrimination.
Sometimes, pregnant women need to have special accommodations made so that they can do the job duties they are assigned. As long as these are reasonable, they should be provided. Some pregnancy conditions are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so these women can cite that protection if necessary.
In some cases, employers aren’t willing to abide by the pregnancy discrimination laws. These cases might lead to legal claims against the employer.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Pregnancy Discrimination,” accessed Dec. 28, 2017