Being pregnant is tough, especially when you’re trying to find a job or maintain your performance at your current employment. As if focusing on your health, the health of your unborn child, and your work isn’t enough, you might also face difficulties at your job when you’re subjected to discrimination.
This discrimination can have a tremendous impact on your future, causing you to lose out on a promotion, be demoted, be overlooked for a job, be reassigned to a less favorable position, or even be terminated from your position.
As jarring as those impacts can be, far too many pregnant women struggle to recognize discrimination when it occurs. Some believe that they’ve just fallen victim to bad luck, while others think that they were simply treated unfairly but that there’s nothing they can do about.
Well, there is something that you can do about it.
Recognizing pregnancy discrimination
If you’re pregnant, then the best way to protect yourself in the workplace is to be cognizant of the signs of pregnancy discrimination. This may include any of the following:
- Inappropriate questions during the interview process: When you’re interviewed for a position the focus should be on your skills and qualifications for the position. For many pregnant women, though, the focus shifts to their personal lives, including whether they want to have children. These questions can be seen as discriminatory in nature because they oftentimes serve as an unspoken justification for employers to discount an applicant because they don’t want to deal with that individual taking leave from work.
- Comments about having children: If your supervisor continues to make comments about you and your spouse or significant other having children, then it might look like they’re just poking fun. But the truth of the matter is that they might be gauging whether you’re going to end up taking maternity or paternity leave at some point in the future. This, coupled with an adverse employment decision, is workplace discrimination.
- Jokes about your lack of ability: If you’re pregnant and working, then your coworkers, including your boss, might jest about your ability to keep up with your work. Although it may seem like fun and games, the truth of the matter is that your boss might use those statements as justification to take a negative employment action against you, including firing you for an inability to live up to your job duties.
- Constantly offering help: Although your supervisor might seem supportive when they constantly ask you if you need help, they really might be trying to create a record of your inability to conduct your job on your own so that they can use that as a justification to act against you.
- An unwillingness to provide reasonable accommodations: Most pregnant women should be given reasonable accommodations if requested. But if your employer is hesitant to give you those accommodations or even talk about them, then there’s a good chance that they’re engaging in discriminatory practices.
Are you ready to protect your interests?
Pregnancy discrimination can hit you with unexpected damage to your career, your finances, and your emotional well-being. You don’t deserve that, which is why you should seek to hold your employer accountable if they’ve treated you unfairly.
This is going to require legal action, which is why you need to make sure that you understand the law and how to use it to your advantage. Only then can you hope to right the wrong that’s been thrust upon you.