What is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

Starting a family or adding to one is a joyous time. Bringing a new person into the world is filled with preparations and plans. At the same time life continues to march on with regular work and home obligations.

One occurrence that can diminish the delight of the experience is being discriminated against in the workplace. There are protections for pregnant women against workplace unfairness.

These protections became available in 1964 with the enactment of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. According to an article on FamilyEducation.com, it “[gave] pregnant women the same rights as others with ‘medical conditions’ by prohibiting job discrimination.” Employers had to treat pregnant women the same as other employees with temporary disabilities.

Let’s look at the Act to see how a woman is protected during and after a pregnancy. The Act states that because of a pregnancy, an employer cannot:

  • Refuse to hire you
  • Change your pay or job assignments
  • Delay or deny a promotion
  • Fire you
  • Opt out of giving you fringe benefits
  • Deny health coverage if it is offered to others
  • Dismiss you from working if you are still able to perform your duties
  • Refuse to reinstate you after childbirth

These are just a few of the discriminatory acts that employers may not engage in if an employee is pregnant.

What about after the baby is born? The Family Medical Leave Act instituted in 1993, gave new moms and dads the right to maternity leave, “f you have been employed for at least one year by the company you now work for, and work at least 25 hours a week, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in any 12-month period for the birth of your baby.” This can be immensely helpful to families who wish to have some personal time with baby the first year.

If you are pregnant or have recently given birth and are experiencing any discriminatory behaviors at work, contactScott • Wagner and Associates to discuss your options.

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