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Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

Preventing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2023 | Workplace Discrimination |

Sadly, many pregnant workers worry about discrimination at work rather than focusing on their careers and future children. There are laws in place to protect pregnant employees, but employers should also take proactive measures to avoid discrimination in the workplace.

Here are a few ways how:

  1. Learn about the rights of pregnant employees

According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), companies cannot discriminate against pregnant workers. The PDA also makes it clear that companies must treat pregnant employees the same as other employees who have similar abilities or limitations.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may provide protection for workers who suffer temporary difficulties due to pregnancy. According to this law, businesses should treat employees with temporary disabilities the same as those with permanent disabilities.

Moreover, the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) finds that unfair treatment of pregnant workers is a form of gender discrimination.

All three laws apply to businesses with at least 15 employees. An employer may violate these laws if caught suspending, terminating, or denying promotion to a pregnant worker due to her status. Creating an employee handbook detailing PDA, ADA, FCRA, and other related laws can help all employees understand pregnant workers’ rights.

  1. Provide reasonable accommodation

Pregnancy can stop someone from performing specific duties as they did before. The employer may need to arrange reasonable accommodations such as a modified workload, breaks, or allowing remote work. For instance, if the job requires heavy lifting, the employer may need to provide tools to help the pregnant employee perform her task.

  1. Inform employees and managers about their specific rights and benefits

It can be helpful to regularly refresh the minds of managers and staff about the company’s policies regarding pregnant employees. For instance, educating employees on your company’s reasonable accommodations policy can help them understand their rights, how to seek assistance, and how to qualify. This may also help management make fair and reasonable judgments when handling pregnant workers.

Expecting mothers have enough challenges to face without needing to worry about discrimination on the job. Regardless of their position, all employees deserve fair treatment at work. It is in the best interest of employers to maintain a discrimination-free workplace, both for the sake of employee morale and to reduce any chances of a lawsuit.