More than 70% of women in the workforce have children, and pregnancy discrimination has become increasingly common as women become more essential to the workforce. Our Alabama employment law team sheds some light on pregnancy discrimination to help bring awareness to an issue that is oftentimes overlooked.
Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace
Pregnant workers are discriminated against in a variety of ways that are taken for granted by most employees, and both employers and workers are typically not adequately informed about pregnant workers’ rights. As you will see below, pregnancy discrimination can manifest anywhere from the beginning of an employee’s tenure to the end.
Discriminatory Hiring Practices
Hiring discrimination is very common for several types of potential employees. Even though it may be unlawful to fire or refuse to hire someone based on whether they plan to become pregnant, it still occurs.
Employers cannot ask interviewees if they intend to become pregnant, but sometimes they do. Additionally, employers have been known to decline to hire employees who are visibly pregnant or share news of their current pregnancy in an interview.
Changes in Job Duties
A change in job duties may not always be discriminatory, but for pregnant workers, it can signal bias. It is not uncommon for employers to demote employees when they become pregnant, assuming their “focus is no longer on their job duties” or they are “distracted” and can no longer perform their job.
Employers have also been known to change a pregnant worker’s job duties, assuming they are no longer able to perform their normal tasks—even if they can. Pregnant workers have also been pressured into quitting by being given more difficult or strenuous tasks.
Failure to Accommodate
Employers often fail to accommodate pregnant workers’ medical needs or allow them to take time off for medical appointments. These work restrictions can include not allowing:
- Being on light duty,
- Taking additional breaks
- Sitting down occasionally
- Being provided different equipment
- Being stationed away from harmful chemicals/fumes
Discrimination can even occur after the child is born. The refusal of rightful medical leave in order to make medical appointments, and maternity leave after birth, may be unlawful.
Contact Our Alabama Workplace Discrimination Team Today
We are committed to advocating for those that have been wronged in their workplace. With so much already on their plates, pregnant women should never have to deal with additional hardship in an environment that should advocate for them.