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What is pregnancy discrimination?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2022 | Employment Law For Employers

Women often get a poorer deal in the workplace than their male colleagues. Everything from salary gaps to higher incidences of sexual harassment shows that the tables are not entirely equal.

As an employer, you need to take great care not to do anything that could be seen as discriminatory against women (or men, or any other protected class, for that matter). Yet one area when many companies fall down is when female staff members get pregnant.

It is easy to focus on the effect it will have on your company

Let’s say the female concerned is your top salesperson. She is very unlikely to be able to reach those same heights when she has a baby to look after or when she needs to take time off for morning sickness. If she is that important to your company, you’ll probably do all you can to accommodate her needs. 

Yet you also need to make accommodations for any other pregnant staff, regardless of how good or poor they are at their role. 

Federal and state law protects pregnant employees

If a pregnant woman wants to continue working, she can, for as long as she can. You may be expected to make some accommodations to help her do so. For example, allowing a few extra rest breaks, allowing her time off for medical appointments, or perhaps allowing her to sit when the role normally requires people to stand. You cannot cut her hours against her will, fire her or overlook her for promotions because she is pregnant or has a newborn baby.

If you are unsure how you should act or face accusations from an employee of discriminating against her because of her pregnancy, seek legal help to understand more.