What are pregnant people’s rights in the workplace?

| Dec 29, 2020 | FMLA, Sex Discrimination |

When you are about to have a child, you may face wide variety of different questions. How can you be a good parent? What will your child be like? Are you ready to welcome a new member into your family?

Unfortunately, many pregnant people also face questions about their career and their future. Will announcing your pregnancy have an impact on your current job or your career prospects in the future? How can you protect your job and your ability to provide for your family? What rights and legal protections are available to you?

Will pregnancy impact your career?

Federal law prohibits employers from making decisions about hiring, promotions, benefits and pay based on an employee’s pregnancy or possible future pregnancy.

Can you continue to work through your pregnancy?

While you may worry that announcing your pregnancy will have immediate consequences for your career, you have the right to continue to work as long as you can perform the primary tasks of your job. This is true even if you need a reasonable accommodation to perform these tasks—for example, using a standing desk for computer-based work or frequent breaks.

Will other employees mistreat you?

Comments, jokes and other harassment can lead to a hostile work environment, and pregnant people are protected from this mistreatment as well as discrimination. You even have legal protections if customers harass you in the workplace.

Does your employer have to offer you pregnancy leave?

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide temporarily disabled workers, including pregnant workers, with unpaid medical leave. However, this does not apply to all companies or all employees, and only around 60 percent of employees have access to leave through this law.

If an employer denies you accommodations, refuses to hire or promote you, fails to provide you with leave or mistreats you because of your pregnancy, you can fight for fair treatment. Speak to an experienced attorney about your legal options.

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