Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination is a term which defines the condition of a pregnant woman when she is harassed at her workplace due to her present physical state. Pregnancy discrimination includes all kind of atrocities against a woman who is expecting, such as being fired after informing an employer about pregnancy, being fired after the completion of maternity leave, not hired because of being pregnant and receiving reduced amount of pay due to pregnancy.

Women employees who are pregnant are no less than other employees of the company. Thus, they are entitled to have similar facilities and in fact, adequate liberal treatment. Discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical issues come under unlawful sex discrimination. Thus, it is considered a crime and legal action can be taken against the one practicing it. In U.K., employers with 15 or more employees are included in Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

How to Deal with Pregnancy Discrimination

  • Every company has an employee handbook, read it if you are being harassed by your employer or co-workers. Many companies have established anti-pregnancy discrimination policies and employee manual carries this information. This will guide you in reporting a complaint of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
  • Any form of pregnancy discrimination must be immediately brought to the notice of your supervisor and the human resource department. Responsible authority will take necessary action to investigate the complaint and will ensure punishment to the discriminator.
  • If your company fails to take appropriate action, you can report it to your state Department of Labour. They will inform you about the complaint avenues available to you and may probe into the alleged discriminatory claims on their own.
  • You can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will ask you for all details related to the discriminatory conduct. Within 180 days of the alleged conduct, a complaint can be filed with EEOC and if you have already registered it with state Department of Labour, you can report to the EEOC in 300 days.
  • Talk to your co-workers. They may form a group to support you against the unacceptable behaviour of your employer.

Things to know about Pregnancy-related Protections at Workplace

  1. No employer can refuse a pregnant woman the job she is capable to do.
  2. If the expecting employee is unable to carry on with her duties due to her condition, the employer must give her the same treatment as he gives to any other disabled employee.
  3. If a pregnant employee wishes to perform her job as long as she wants, no employer can prohibit her from doing so.
  4. An employer cannot refuse maternity leave to an expecting employee.
  5. Any health insurance which an employer provides must cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions.
  6. Pregnancy-related benefits cannot be limited to married employees.


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