Some workers may not be aware that pregnancy discrimination is prohibited in the workplace and hiring process. Because of the important protections prohibitions against pregnancy discrimination provide, it is important for impacted workers to be familiar with how pregnant employees are protected in the workplace.
Pregnancy discrimination protections
Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is considered a type of gender discrimination in the workplace and is prohibited. It is prohibited in relation to hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training opportunities, fringe benefits (which can include leave and health insurance), or any other term or condition of employment.
In addition, if a pregnant woman is unable to perform her job on a temporary basis because of a pregnancy-related medical condition, the employer is required to treat the employee as they would any other temporarily disabled employee. This may mean that the employer is required to provide light duty to the employee, alternative assignments, disability leave or unpaid leave to a pregnant employee if the employer does so for temporarily disabled employees.
Harassment on the basis of pregnancy
Harassment on the basis of pregnancy is also prohibited. It is illegal to harass a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth or a pregnancy-related medical condition. Similarly to sexual harassment in the workplace, pregnancy-related harassment is unlawful when is severe and consistent enough to create a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision being taken against the worker. Harassers can include supervisors, supervisors in other areas, co-workers, or clients and customers.
Workplace discrimination is prohibited in the workplace and can include a wide variety of prohibited behaviors, including pregnancy discrimination. Pregnant workers can benefit from being familiar with what behaviors are prohibited and how they are protected.