As a pregnant employee, it is important to know your rights. Pregnant employees gain protections from the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The PDA states you cannot be discriminated against in the workplace because you are pregnant as long as you can still do the most important aspects of your job.
Being discriminated against in the workplace does not only mean that you can’t be fired. The discrimination can also take the form of demotions or having terms of your employment negatively changed because you are pregnant. Also, an employer cannot refuse to hire you because you are pregnant. Another thing that is important to note is that as a pregnant employee you may be entitled to accommodations in the workplace as long as they are reasonable and your employer offers these accommodations to other similarly situated employees.
Determining Pregnancy Discrimination
When trying to spot pregnancy discrimination, look for a change in a person’s behavior after they find out you are pregnant. If a person begins to treat you differently after they notice you are pregnant, you may have an issue with pregnancy discrimination. The difference in treatment can range from extreme to minute, but if the change in behavior is driven by your pregnancy, that is impermissible discrimination. Some examples of behavior that may show pregnancy discrimination are:
- Getting fired after your employer discovers you are pregnant
- Getting demoted
- Having a promotion given to someone else that is less qualified than you
- Having your shift changed to a less favorable time
- Having the number of hours you work reduced
- Having your job responsibilities changed
- Not being offered training opportunities that your co-workers are offered
- Any other change in your employer’s behavior that negatively affects your employment
Keep in mind that a person’s change in behavior may be the result of an attempt to help you or lighten your load since you are dealing with the effects of pregnancy on top of your normal job duties. In order to better protect yourself, it is not a bad idea to keep a log of events that you believe may have been discriminatory. When you make this log, make sure to note the dates of the incidents, what the incident was, and who was involved in the incident.