Fair Treatment for Workers Who Are Pregnant

Pregnant Workers Fairness ActMore families depend on women’s income than ever before. Thus, it wouldn’t be fair for women to choose between having a child and having a job. This is why it is important to know the rights of working women.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act allows pregnant women to continue to perform their jobs and support their families by requiring employers to make the same accommodations for pregnancy as they do for disabilities.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964  to “prohibit sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.” The Pregnancy Discrimination Act essentially protects women who are pregnant from being fired or laid off. Under the Act an employer cannot refuse to hire or promote a woman because of pregnancy and childbirth.

Women who are pregnant or affected by pregnancy related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar limitations. If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job because of her pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same way as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, if the employer allows temporarily disabled employees to perform alternative assignments, take disability leave or leave without pay, the employer must also allow an employee who is temporarily disabled because of pregnancy to do the same. Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy related absence the same period of time jobs are held open for employees on disability leave. If an employer provides any benefits to their employees on leave, the employer must provide the same benefits for those on leave for pregnancy and childbirth.

Harassment is unlawful when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as the victim being fired. Therefore, it is illegal to harass a woman because she is pregnant or just gave birth.

It’s a shame that women still face discrimination on the job when they become pregnant. When some women ask for temporary changes of their job duties because of pregnancy, such as avoiding heavy lifting, their requests are often denied. This leaves many pregnant women without a salary because they are forced to quit or are fired. It is cruel that employers are unwilling to make even the smallest changes for employees who are pregnant. These employers are essentially breaking the law by denying these accommodations in accordance with The Pregnancy Discrimination Act.