Can your employer deny you a promotion because you are pregnant?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2023 | Sex Discrimination |

Pregnancy is a joyous experience for many women, but it can also bring about certain challenges, especially in the workplace. One such challenge that some pregnant workers may face is the potential denial of a promotion based on their pregnancy status.

It goes without saying that it is unfair to not receive a promotion that you qualify for. If you find yourself in this situation while you are pregnant, it is in your best interest to know what the law says about the matter.

Understanding workplace discrimination

Discrimination against employees due to pregnancy is a violation of federal law in the United States. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from treating pregnant individuals differently when it comes to employment decisions. These include promotions and similar opportunities.

The perception dilemma

Despite legal safeguards, the reality is that some employers may still harbor bias about pregnant employees. Some employers may fear that a pregnant employee will be less committed or productive, leading them to pass over a pregnant individual for a promotion. Employers must base promotion decisions on merit, skills and qualifications.

Open communication and accommodations

Open communication between employers and employees is a must during pregnancy. Employers should engage in dialogue with pregnant individuals about their career aspirations. This ensures the proactive solving of any concerns or potential challenges. Additionally, employers should be willing to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. Adjusting work schedules or providing necessary support is the least an employer can do to ensure a smooth transition during this significant life event.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports the resolution of 2,104 pregnancy discrimination cases for 2022. There are certain agencies that will help you take action when you become the target of discrimination. It is important to take the appropriate steps right away if your employer wrongfully denies you a promotion.


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