You would think that with all the advances we have made for women’s rights, women would no longer suffer discrimination on the job. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to the treatment pregnant women receive. Many employers in Florida and elsewhere may fear the efficiency of their pregnant employees will slack off, or that they will lose productive hours after a baby is born and the mother goes on maternity leave or requests to work fewer hours. This does not mean it is acceptable to treat pregnant women and new mothers as if they are less valuable or have fewer rights than other employees.
You may find it shocking, but the following examples are documented instances of how pregnant women were treated by their employers:
- Being fired from a bar because the boss was afraid customers would think the company was irresponsible to employ a pregnant woman
- Requiring pregnant employees to provide a doctor’s note stating the pregnancy was not high-risk, otherwise putting them on unpaid leave
- Taking an informed decision away from an expectant mother by telling her she should not work for the company because of a product that contained chemicals
- Informing female employees not to get pregnant, and that the next worker to get pregnant should consider herself fired
- Not rehiring or reinstating female employees after their maternity leave was up
These examples violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant women in any form, including restricting their job assignments, forcing them to go on leave, phasing their job out while they are on maternity leave or reducing their pay. If your supervisor restricts you from using the restroom or leaving work early for a doctor’s appointment, he or she would also be violating your rights. You have the right to legal recourse if you have suffered unfair treatment from your boss during your pregnancy.