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Common forms of pregnancy discrimination

As an American employee, you have certain protections in the workplace, and one of those protections involves your right to a work environment that is free from unlawful employment discrimination. Workplace discrimination can take on many forms, and one of the more common forms is pregnancy discrimination.

According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination if a supervisor, colleague or other work-related contact treats you differently or unfavorably because you are expecting, or because you have some type of medical condition related to your pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act sets guidelines as to what types of behaviors might constitute pregnancy discrimination, and these actions may include:

Failing to hire or firing you due to pregnancy

If you are otherwise completely qualified for a position, it is unlawful for an employer to avoid offering it to you exclusively based on your pregnancy. Similarly, your employer may not lawfully terminate you simply because you are expecting a child.

Giving you less desirable duties or hours

Your employer cannot, for example, move you from your front desk position to a more hidden role because of your pregnancy. He or she also may not intentionally give you an undesirable schedule because of your condition with the hope that it might make you quit.

Failing to promote you

If you were on track to receive a promotion and things suddenly changed after your pregnancy became public knowledge, this, too, may constitute pregnancy discrimination.

Essentially, your employer must treat your pregnancy as a temporary disability, meaning he or she must address your condition in the same manner he or she would do for any other employee with a non-pregnancy-related temporary disability. This holds true with regard for time off, promotions, health insurance accommodations and any other circumstance related to employment. If your employer or colleagues treat you differently at your place of business because you are pregnant, you may find it beneficial to speak with an attorney.

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