If there’s anything more expensive than being pregnant, it’s probably being a new mom. Raising a child is incredibly expensive, which means keeping your job and maintaining your upward career trajectory during pregnancy is important for many expectant mothers.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of companies that will discriminate against pregnant women despite federal protections prohibiting them from doing so. As a pregnant woman, whether this is your first pregnancy or not, you will likely need to watch for warning signs of discrimination by your employer during and after your pregnancy.
Pregnancy discrimination can involve not accommodating a woman
Pregnancy is different for every woman. Some may go without any morning sickness whatsoever, while others may have hyperemesis gravidarum that keeps them feeling ill for the duration of all three trimesters. Some will have blood pressure or blood sugar issues, while others will live mostly like they do the rest of the time.
If you have medical consequences from your pregnancy, your physician may recommend a change in your job duties. You may need to elevate my feet, take frequent breaks, limit how much you lift or carry or even need to work from home.
Your employer should work with you to help you comply with those requirements related to temporary disabilities due to pregnancy instead of refusing or even punishing you for asking for such simple accommodations.
Your employer could deny you necessarily leave
Even if your employer doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, there are still federal rules that allow you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child in many employment circumstances. Your employer should allow you to take leave and then to return to the same job or an equivalent one without any sort of penalty, demotion or decrease in pay.
Sometimes, pregnancy discrimination involves an employer making jokes at the expense of a pregnant employee or even mistreating them out of misplaced frustration or a presumption that pregnant women and new mothers aren’t willing to work hard. This kind of discrimination can cause emotional distress, which is unhealthy for an expectant mother and her unborn child.
Whether your employer wants to demote you or won’t let you take time off after the birth, you may need to take legal action if their behavior impacts your ability to continue your job and provide for yourself and your new baby.