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FAQs about pregnancy discrimination

Many working women become pregnant at some point. Due to the fact that pregnancy is so common, there are laws that protect working pregnant women from discrimination. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act is the main law that exists to serve this purpose.

If you are pregnant or think you may become pregnant soon, it is important for you to know how the PDA protects your rights in the workplace. Here are some answers to common questions about pregnancy discrimination. 

What exactly is the PDA?

The PDA is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law states that discriminatory actions on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth are illegal. It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against job applicants or workers because of pregnancy or a related condition. The law only applies to employers with at least 15 employees. 

What are my protections?

This federal law prohibits any type of employment discrimination relating to:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Wages
  • Promotion
  • Benefits

This means that employers cannot enact any policies that limit, exclude or unfairly impact women because they are pregnant or fertile.

I just found out I am pregnant. What will happen to me?

If you work for an employer with 15 or more employees, your employer cannot fire or reassign you. Your employer must allow you to work as long as you are physically able. If your employer terminates you because of your pregnancy, you may be able to file a discrimination lawsuit.

What happens if I take leave because of my pregnancy?

Your employer should allow you to take leave because of your pregnancy. Your employer should also hold open your job for the same amount of time it would be open for an employee with a disability or sickness. You should also receive the same treatment in regard to any vacation calculations or accruals. 

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