When you are pregnant and working, you have the right for your employer to treat you the same as any other employee. The same applies when you take time off due to pregnancy.
The United States Equal Opportunity Commission classifies pregnancy as a temporary disability and requires employers to treat their pregnant employees the same as other temporary disabled workers. However, a study shows close to 31,000 claims of pregnancy discrimination were filed between 2010 and 2015.
It can be hard to know if your employer is acting in a discriminatory manner toward you due to your pregnancy, so this post will look at the differing ways pregnancy discrimination can appear in the workplace.
Refusal to Hire
An employer cannot refuse to hire you because you are pregnant. In fact, labor laws even prevent potential employers from discussing pregnancy in an interview. If you are asked about your pregnancy or denied a position due to pregnancy, you may be able to take legal action against the employer.
Firing Due to Pregnancy
It is illegal for your employer to fire you for being pregnant or taking maternal leave. If an employer outright tells you that they are firing you due to your pregnancy or concerns related to your pregnancy, you can take legal action against them. Some employers will attempt to cloak discriminatory behavior by citing unrelated matters as a cause for termination. If you suspect that the underlying cause for your employer letting you go is that you are pregnant, seeking legal aid may be of benefit.
As long as you are able to work, your employer cannot require you to go on leave. Similarly, your employer cannot keep you from returning to work after your child is born. Most companies have short term disability policies that pregnant individuals qualify for. If an employer disregards these policies or requires you to go on leave, it is against the law and you may have grounds for a legal case.