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Protecting Employees Against Pregnancy Discrimination

Aug. 17, 2021

There are different types of protections against discrimination in the workplace, including protections against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. It is important for workers, including pregnant workers and workers who anticipate becoming pregnant, to be familiar with employment law protections against pregnancy discrimination.

Examples of Ways Employers Cannot Engage in Pregnancy Discrimination

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against pregnant women or workers who have a medical condition related to childbirth or pregnancy including by:

  • Refusing to hire or promote the employee or firing the pregnant worker because of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related medical condition;

  • Asking illegal interview questions of pregnant applicants they would not otherwise ask if the applicant were not pregnant;

  • Discriminating against employees and applicants who may become pregnant;

  • Requiring employees to provide notice of pregnancy unless such a requirement serves a legitimate business purpose and is not used to limit the employee’s job opportunities;

  • Forbidding a pregnant employee from continuing to work if they want to work and are physically able to perform the tasks associated with their work;

  • Failing to hold the employee’s job open for a pregnancy-related absence for the same length or time they would hold a job open for sick or disability leave;

There are additional protections against pregnancy discrimination provided to pregnant employees or employees experiencing a medical condition related to childbirth. Pregnancy discrimination can limit an employee’s opportunities for advancement and make it difficult for them to do that job. For that reason, pregnant employers, and their employees, should be familiar with pregnancy discrimination prohibitions and protections.