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What is pregnancy discrimination?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2022 | Employment Law |

Unfortunately, even as modern workplaces move into a new digital age, many of the same forms of discrimination continue to exist.

Discrimination against pregnant workers serves as one of these potential issues. But what exactly does this form of discrimination look like?

Examples of pregnancy discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission looks into pregnancy discrimination at work, which still occurs to this day. Generally speaking, they define pregnancy discrimination as the unfavorable treatment of an employee or an applicant due to childbirth, pregnancy or any sort of medical condition related to the two.

A common example includes an employer’s refusal to hire a worker for no other reason than because she is pregnant or might someday become pregnant, i.e. if she has plans to start a family or a steady significant other. Another example includes the ostracizing of women who must take breaks to pump during the day in order to feed their babies.

If a woman has already gotten a job but becomes pregnant while working there, she may face discrimination, too. For example, an employer may start to treat her unfavorably. The employer might pass her over for promotions or raises just for the fact that she is pregnant and expecting.

Why does it happen?

Many employers state that they feel “wary” about pregnant workers or workers who may become pregnant because they worry about the pregnant employee leaving after giving birth. The general sentiment is that there is no point in hiring someone they believe will leave soon anyway.

However, no matter what their reasoning is, refusing to treat someone fairly specifically due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related injuries, is a discriminatory act punishable by law.