Pregnancy discrimination is part of gender protections that prevent pregnant workers from being discriminated against in their workplaces. Pregnant workers should be familiar with how they are protected and what they can do if they are discriminated against.
Important protections afforded to those who are pregnant
Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition is considered unlawful discrimination based on sex and is prohibited. Workers who are experiencing pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition must be treated in the same way as any other employee or applicant for employment with similar abilities or limitations.
An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy-related medical condition as long as she is able to perform the major functions of the job. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of their pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical condition.
There are a variety of different types of pregnancy discrimination that are prohibited. Employers cannot single out pregnancy-related medical conditions to determine the worker’s ability to work. Employers must use a similar procedure to determine the ability of a pregnant employee to work as they use to determine the ability of other workers to perform the duties of their job.
In addition, pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. Employers must also leave open a job for a pregnancy-related absence for the same length of time they would leave open a job for an employee on sick or disability leave.
Federal and state employment laws provide essential protections to pregnant workers and other workers when they are discriminated against in the application and employment process. For that reason, pregnant employees should be familiar with protections against discrimination.