Dealing with pregnancy discrimination at work

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Employment Law

Pregnancy should be a time of preparation and anticipation for the arrival of a new family member, not a period of stress due to unfair treatment at work. Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination remains an issue in the workplace.

What is pregnancy discrimination?

It happens when an employer treats an expectant mother unfairly due to her pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Examples include denying reasonable accommodations, refusing to hire, demoting, firing or taking other negative employment actions against her. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits this type of discrimination. Many states also have laws offering additional protections.

In Minnesota, the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) protects and supports women’s economic well-being, including protecting them from wage discrimination.

Responding to pregnancy discrimination

If you face discrimination because of your pregnancy, you need to understand and exercise your rights:

  • Learn about your state’s laws that protect pregnant employees and new mothers.
  • Report the incident to your management or HR if you feel your employer treated you unfairly at work due to your pregnancy.
  • Document everything by keeping records of emails and text messages.

Lastly, keep doing your best and maintain good work performance and professionalism. This can prevent your employer from retaliating against you by claiming performance issues.

Taking legal action

Dealing with discrimination while pregnant or as a new mom adds extra challenges. The stress can harm your and your baby’s health, so seek support from loved ones or counseling if needed.

If you decide to file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s fair employment agency, you may seek the help of a legal professional who can guide you throughout the process.