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What Rights Do You Have as a Pregnant Woman in the Workplace?

As a pregnant woman who works for someone that employs at least 15 people, you have certain protections in place with regard to your work environment. There are two main rules that exist that dictate the accommodations or exceptions your employer must make on account of your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the first is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the other is Title 1 of the Americans With Disabilities Act as it relates those with pregnancy-related disabilities.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Under the tenets of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, your employer must treat you in the same way they would other workers who are similar in their ability, or lack thereof, to work. It also protects you against discrimination at virtually any stage of the hiring, firing or employment processes based on an existing pregnancy, a past pregnancy, an anticipated pregnancy or another condition related to pregnancy.

Title 1 of the Americans With Disabilities Act

Being pregnant does not automatically mean you have a disability. However, there are numerous conditions related to pregnancy – such as preeclampsia – that may constitute one. Under Title 1 of the Americans With Disabilities Act, your employer may not discriminate against you or harass you for having a pregnancy-related disability. They must also make reasonable accommodations for your pregnancy-related disability when necessary to make your job easier on you.

It’s also worth noting that if your employer has a workforce of 50 or more, you may have additional protections, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, that also pertain to you. Understanding your employment-related rights and protections surrounding your pregnancy is the first step to identifying whether there may be something wrong with the treatment you’re receiving at work.

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