Both federal and state laws protect women from pregnancy discrimination at work. Even with these protections in place, pregnancy discrimination is commonplace in our workplaces. Sometimes the discrimination is blatant; more frequently it is subtle and buried in pretext. Below, our pregnancy discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles discuss examples of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
What Is Pregnancy Discrimination at Work?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines pregnancy discrimination as the treatment of a woman (applicant or employee) unfavorably because of:
- Pregnancy (or the ability and/or intention to become pregnant)
- Medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth
When Can Pregnancy Discrimination Occur?
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), this type of discrimination can occur during any aspect of employment. It is against the law to discriminate based on pregnancy when it comes to:
- Hiring and promotions
- Job assignments
- Pay and fringe benefits (i.e. health insurance)
- Layoffs, demotions and terminations
- Any other terms or conditions of employment
3 Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
Below, we share just a few examples of pregnancy discrimination. There are many signs of pregnancy discrimination to watch out for in the workplace. If you believe that you have been discriminated against, speak to an employment attorney about your situation. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and the best way to proceed under the law.
New Hire or Promotion
During your interview, were you asked whether you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant? Were you asked whether you have children? A potential employer or your current employer should not ask these questions.
It is unlawful for an employer to make hiring decisions based on your status as:
- Intending to become pregnant
- A new mother
It is also illegal for an employer to make a decision based on the assumption that you may become pregnant in the future. This is true for new hires and current employees seeking another position within the company.
Demotion or Termination
Your employer cannot demote you or fire you solely because you are pregnant. Your employer may try to justify a demotion or termination to you by saying it is for the benefit of your health. An employer may try to claim the following:
- Your current position puts you and your pregnancy at risk
- A new position will better fit your current job capabilities
- You need time off to take care of your family
Your employer may believe that pregnancy and childbirth will interfere with your work performance and make you less committed to your career. However, your employer cannot stereotype you, or base decisions that affect your employment on these beliefs.
Were you demoted, forced into a new position or fired soon after telling your employer that you are pregnant? We encourage you to speak to our Los Angeles pregnancy discrimination lawyers about your situation.
Did you recently complain or threaten to complain about pregnancy harassment or discrimination in the workplace? Did you take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Your employer cannot retaliate against you for doing these things. A few examples of workplace retaliation include:
Questions About Pregnancy Discrimination or Harassment? Call Our Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers in Los Angeles
If you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant, it is important to understand your rights as a pregnant employee in California. If you believe you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination or pregnancy harassment in the workplace, speak to an attorney.