Women are targeted with pregnancy discrimination for several reasons. For example, an employer may demote or fire a pregnant employee on the assumption she will ask for maternity leave. Employers also discriminate against pregnant women for needing medical leave or reasonable accommodations to perform job duties. Pregnancy may cause temporary disability for some women. This means they may have protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The following are examples of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace that temporarily or permanently disabled women may experience:
- Pregnant women may be denied benefits provided to other disabled employees. This includes time off for doctor’s appointments or temporary medical leave.
- Employers may target pregnant women with verbal harassment.
- Employers may deny pregnant women reasonable accommodations. This could include a stool for sitting while working a cash register – a classic example.
- In the worst-case scenarios, pregnant workers are fired or demoted over their disabilities.
If a pregnant worker is temporarily unable to perform her job duties due to a health condition caused by her pregnancy or childbirth, her employer must treat her as it would treat other disabled employees.
Can Women Fight Back Against Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace?
Employers subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act must provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers experiencing disability. However, reasonable accommodations should not impose undue hardship on an employer.
Pregnant women experiencing disability discrimination may have several options, such as filing a disability discrimination claim under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or ADA. Claims can be filed with the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A Los Angeles discrimination attorney can help file claims while protecting pregnant women from employer retaliation.