Employees in California and elsewhere may be interested in learning that women still face pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. In fact, many women find that their careers are halted when they become pregnant.
For example, one 30-year-old woman who was working at a Walmart distribution center in Georgia was told that she needed a doctor’s note in order to take a break due to morning sickness. When she obtained a doctor’s note saying that she could not do any heavy lifting due to her pregnancy, the supervisor suggested that she consider taking unpaid leave as her pregnancy was a “liability.” Another woman, who worked for a large trading company, was told that there was no advancement in the company available due to her age and the fact that she was preparing to have a child.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees due to their pregnancy status and any medical conditions related to pregnancy. This means that under the law, employers must treat pregnant employees as they would treat other employees, even when it comes to providing benefits. However, it is clear that some companies still discriminate against pregnant employees under the guise of worrying about their health. In other cases, employers may be blatant about why they are terminating an employee, failing to hire someone or reducing a person’s number of hours.
When an employer discriminates against employees due to their pregnancy status, they often are not aware of their rights. However, people should be aware that pregnancy discrimination in any form is illegal. If a worker experiences pregnancy bias or discrimination, an employment law attorney may determine if she is eligible to file a lawsuit against the employer for back pay and any other benefits to which she may be entitled.