Pregnancy and work can be a difficult enough combination to manage, without having to face discrimination at work because of being pregnant. However pregnant women do in fact face discrimination at the work place and there are several laws in place to help women deal with this:
According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act 1978
- The employer is required to treat the pregnant employee as any other worker with medical disability.
- The law forbids any discrimination from the employer based on pregnancy or child birth or any disability that could arise from that.
- Pregnant women can expect equal treatment of disabilities under the act and birth of medical related conditions also comes within the ambit of the act.
- A woman cannot be fired by her employer simply because she gets pregnant or gets ill due to her pregnancy.
- A pregnant woman also has the right to appropriate modifications or changes made to her duties at work or disability leave.
- A pregnant woman cannot be forced to go on leave; she has the right to continue working as long as she is able.
- Their jobs are protected while they go on maternity leave as well and seniority, increments, bonuses and vacation perks also can continue to accrue in that time if such as benefit and security is provided to all employees by that particular employer.
Family and Medical Leave Act 1993
- Up to 12 weeks of leave is allowed to be taken by mother or her partner following the birth of a child. In the case of the mother, that leave could be intermittent or continuous.
- This law applies to organizations with more than 50 employees and to those employees who have been working for the organization for at least one year.
There are also other pregnancy protection laws created by states which are applicable to those states. If more information about pregnancy rights and family leave is required, this can be obtained from the US Department of Labor.
Individual company policies may differ and it is best to discuss your options with a human resources person in your place of work, so that you are aware of your options and can prepare for the birth accordingly.
This is best done several months before delivery, so that you have the time to complete paperwork and other requirements as well.