Working while pregnant can be difficult. An employee should not have to endure adverse treatment from her employer, and federal law provides broad protections against pregnancy discrimination. Despite that, recent trends suggest that workplace conditions for pregnant workers have actually gotten worse, not better.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of :
- (1) a current pregnancy
- (2) a past pregnancy
- (3) a potential or intended pregnancy
- (4) medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth
Employers must also provide workplace accommodations to women protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act if it accommodates non-pregnant employees “similar in their ability or inability to work.”
Thus, for example, an employer must provide light-duty work to a pregnant employee if it also provides light-duty work to non-pregnant employees who are injured or who are recovering from a medical procedure.
A typical case of pregnancy discrimination involves a situation where the employer treats the employee more adversely after learning of the employee’s pregnancy, or after the employee returns from pregnancy leave. In such situations, the employee may also have a claim under the Family Medical Leave Act.