Welcoming a new child into your family is an exciting time, but many women in the United States also face discrimination during this time. The law prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, but it is important for women to know their rights so that they can recognize and report pregnancy discrimination when they experience it.
What constitutes illegal pregnancy discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination involves harassment or discrimination against an employee based on a current pregnancy or possible future pregnancies. This discrimination can include:
- Asking pregnancy-related questions during job interviews
- Denying employees the opportunity for advancement because of pregnancy
- Harassing pregnant employees
- Failing to make reasonable accommodations that allow pregnant employees to continue their work
- Failing to give pregnant employees the medical leave or disability pay that they are due
- Forcing employees to take medical leave when they feel that they can continue work
- Refusing to allow employees to return to their previous position
- Not covering pregnancy as a part of an employer-offered insurance plan
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act is meant to protect pregnant employees from mistreatment. This act only applies to businesses with more than 15 employees, however, so some small business employees are not covered under this law.
Kentucky also offers additional protection through the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act. This includes protections for recovery after pregnancy, accommodations for breastfeeding infants and other additional protections within the state of Kentucky.
How common is pregnancy discrimination?
Pregnancy discrimination is more common than many employees think. Thousands of women report pregnancy discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) every year, resulting in millions of dollars in damages.
If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, it can be important to speak to an attorney about your options. They can assist you with filing discrimination charges and holding your employer responsible for the mistreatment you have experienced.