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Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

Finding out that you are pregnant is an exciting time for most women. Despite it being a joyful time, some women decide not to disclose their pregnancy right away. Nonetheless, when a pregnant woman does disclose her pregnancy to her employer, she is expected to have their support when it comes to making any reasonable accommodations. However, if an employer fails to do so or if a pregnant woman is treated differently in the workplace, she may have a claim for pregnancy discrimination.

Pregnancy discrimination can occur in various situations in workplaces. This typically occurs when a female applicant or employee is treated unfavorably due to their pregnancy. This also extends to the childbirth and any medical conditions related to her pregnancy or the birth of her child.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act states that employers may not discriminate against an employee by taking adverse action, which includes termination or demotion, on the basis of the employee's pregnancy or gender. This Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

It should be noted that employers are generally required to provide the same level of benefits to all employees whether or not they are pregnant. Thus, if a pregnant employee is unable to perform her job duties because of a medical condition related to her pregnancy or the birth of her child, she must be treated the same way as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave or unpaid leave should be provided.

If a female employee believes she is being discriminated against because of her pregnancy or recent childbirth, she may have cause to file a legal action. Employment litigation could help prove the matter, helping the employee offset any damages experienced by the situation.

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