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Pregnant women are protected against discrimination

Pregnant Indiana employees are protected by federal laws from being discriminated against due to their pregnancy, childbirth or a medical condition related to either of these. These laws pertain to any adverse employment action, including hiring, termination, pay rate, promotions, benefits, job duties and any other term of employment.

Some pregnancy-related medical conditions may also result in the employer having to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, if a pregnant woman is impaired by gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, the ADA may require that the employer provide a reasonable accommodation to the pregnant woman unless it would be an undue hardship to do so. Additionally, if a pregnant woman is temporarily not capable of performing certain job duties because of a pregnancy-related medical condition, she must be treated in the same manner as any other temporarily-disabled worker.

Federal laws also prohibit employers, co-workers, clients and customers from harassing a pregnant woman due to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. Specifically, harassment that is severe or pervasive is prohibited. Harassment qualifies as frequent or severe if it makes the work environment hostile or when it causes an adverse employment reaction, such as through termination or demotion.

Additionally, employers are prohibited from establishing specific procedures to determine that a particular employee is not able to work that are based on pregnancy-related conditions. However, if an employer mandates that employees must provide a health care provider's statement in order for employees to receive sick leave or sick benefits, pregnant women may also be required to provide such documentation. Pregnant women may have other rights under the Family Medical Leave Act. If they believe that they have been targeted for discrimination in their workplace, they may wish to consult with an employment law attorney to determine what remedies exist.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Pregnancy Discrimination", November 02, 2014

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