What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Employment Law

Minnesota Employment Discrimination Attorneys

Though most people think about skin color when they think about discrimination, the truth is that it can come in many forms. Many people feel like they are treated differently because of who they are, including their age, religion, and sexual orientation. In fact, many women feel discriminated against due to their sex, along with their choice to have a family. Pregnant women often struggle through their pregnancy, only for it to continue as they become a new mom!

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

People who don’t know any better talk to you (and behind your back) about how you are choosing to be a mother over your career.

This can be very hard to hear when you are going through a time in your life when you are so excited. It is also not true. You can have the career that you want while having a family. Many women balance the best of both worlds!

You are going to need to take time off from your job so that you can go to all of your doctor’s appointments.

The health of you and your baby are of utmost importance during this time so you have to be able to come and go as needed to attend your doctor’s appointments. You shouldn’t miss appointments because of your job.

You can’t be fired simply because you are pregnant.

Though most people won’t fire someone due to their pregnancy, it does happen, and it is illegal. You have every right to continue to work throughout your pregnancy and come back after your maternity leave.

You deserve to have a safe environment to work in while you are pregnant.

Most pregnant women are going to have some restrictions about things that they can do. Most can’t lift as much as they used to. Others aren’t going to be able to stand all day like their job requires. Your employer is required to assist you through your pregnancy, even if they need to find other things for you to do.

You also deserve maternity leave.

Even though it is illegal, there are still some places that don’t allow new mothers to have time off after birth. Maternity leave is essential for your body to heal, as well as time to adjust to being a mother. It doesn’t have to be paid, but your employer needs to give you some time to rest, recuperate, and adjust.

If you aren’t being paid (or even if you are), you should be allowed to use any of your time off as (or in addition to) your maternity leave.

If you aren’t able to get paid during your maternity leave, you should use any of your vacation or sick time that you have to help pay for your time off. If you are being paid for your maternity leave, you can use your vacation and sick time to make your maternity leave a little longer.

Some companies pressure expectant mothers to come back to work sooner than expected.

You deserve every bit of maternity leave that you are granted (and then some if you use your vacation time and sick leave well). During that time, your employer has no right to bother you (except for well-wishes). They can’t pressure you to come back sooner because you deserve to have this time to yourself.

When you return to work, your job needs to still be there.

It is illegal to hire someone else to take your place while you are on maternity leave. They are required to keep your position open until you are able to return. They may hire a temporary worker while you are off, but they have to give you your job back when the time comes to return to work.

If you get health insurance through your employer, he or she needs to continue to offer the same benefits to you while you are on maternity leave.

You don’t deserve to lose health insurance, especially when you really need it. If your employer covers health insurance for injured workers and those who are taking time off for an illness, they need to continue to cover yours too.

If you feel like you are being discriminated against, you really need to talk to a lawyer about your options. He or she will help you decide if you have a case and what you should do about it. Even if you decide not to pursue anything, it doesn’t hurt to find out what is going on.

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