What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination includes treating an applicant or employee differently, unfavorably, or unfairly during pregnancy, childbirth, maternity leave, or any other related medical condition.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.
Fair Treatment of Pregnant Employees
The law requires pregnant employees to be treated the same way other employees are treated with a temporary disability in all aspects of employment, including health insurance and coverage, leaves of absence, and work assignments. If the company provides light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to other temporarily disabled employees, the law requires they must do the same for pregnant employees.
Additionally, impairments resulting from pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, a condition characterized by pregnancy-induced hypertension and protein in the urine, may be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer may be responsible to provide a reasonable accommodation, such as leave or modifications that enable an employee to perform her job, for employees with these impairments.
Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave & Other Rights
Pregnant employees may have additional rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For example, under the FMLA, a mother or father may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a newborn child.
Employees are protected under the law from unlawful harassment because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Pregnancy harassment may occur when offensive comments are made by someone in the workplace about another person’s pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Pregnancy harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as discharge and demotion). The harasser can be the employee’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
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