Pregnancy protections in the workplace are important and may not be a protection everyone is familiar with. It is unlawful to discriminate against employees or job applicants because of a pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition. To ensure their rights are protected, employees should be familiar with protections for pregnancy in the workplace.

What are the protections for pregnancy in the workplace?

Pregnancy discrimination is a type of gender discrimination and it is prohibited. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and pregnancy-related medical conditions are unlawful under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

Pregnancy discrimination includes treating any employee or job applicant unfavorably in any aspect of their employment or in the job hiring process. This includes any aspect of the employee’s employment such as hiring, firing, pay, benefits, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, hours or another other conditions or terms of employment. Benefits can refer to health insurance, leave or other fringe benefits of employment employees would normally enjoy.

In addition, it is unlawful to retaliate against an employee or job applicant for filing a discrimination complaint based on an allegation of discrimination because of pregnancy. This protection applies to a discrimination charge brought by any individual including bringing the charge, testifying in support of the charge, participating in the proceeding or litigation of the charge or participating in any way in the investigation of the claim.

Workplace discrimination is prohibited so that employees are protected in their workplaces and in the process of applying for a job. Employees should be familiar with those protections to ensure they are not discriminated against or retaliated against on the basis of pregnancy.