Pregnancy Discrimination - Know Your Rights
Learn about the laws against sex discrimination protect pregnant workers and pregnant women applying for jobs.5 min read
United States Department of Labor Women's Bureau 1994
Are you being treated unfairly at work because you are pregnant? Laws against sex discrimination protect pregnant workers and pregnant women applying for jobs.
ARE ANY OF THESE THINGS HAPPENING TO YOU?
- You aren't hired because you are pregnant?
- You are fired or laid off because you are pregnant?
- You are turned down for a promotion because you are pregnant?
- You are not given benefits for pregnancy because you are not married?
You are not alone. Thousands of women who are pregnant or new mothers file charges every year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is the Federal agency that protects you from job discrimination.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
Federal and State laws make sure that Americans are able to have children without losing their jobs. Discrimination against you because you are pregnant violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under this law, employers who have at least 15 workers are not allowed to:
- Refuse to hire a woman because of pregnancy
- Fire or force a worker to leave because she is pregnant
- Take away credit for previous years, accrued retirement benefits,
- or seniority because of maternity leave
- Fire or refuse to hire a woman because she has an abortion
You must be allowed to keep working as long as you are able to do your job. Your boss cannot make a rule about how long you must stay out of work before or after childbirth. If your company does not offer sick leave, then it may be discriminating against pregnant workers.
Your employer must treat you at least as well as he/she treats other workers who can't do their jobs for a short time. For example, if your company lets a worker go who had a heart attack or broken leg on paid or unpaid disability leave, you must also have this right if you are unable to work because of pregnancy or childbirth. If your pregnancy stops you from being able to do your job, you have the right to be given easier duties, if other workers who can't do their jobs for a short time get this right.