Pregnancy can be a very exciting experience. However, it can also come with some risks, one of which is discrimination. It may not seem believable, but pregnant women are usually discriminated against for being pregnant — not only in the workforce but elsewhere. Read on to learn more.
How does pregnancy discrimination occur?
Pregnancy discrimination involves treating a pregnant woman differently because of her pregnancy. There are many ways in which employers can discriminate against pregnant women who are working or applying for jobs. One of them is assuming that the applicant is not qualified because she is pregnant or assuming that the applicant will not be able to work as long as needed due to her pregnancy.
In some cases, an employer may refuse to hire, terminate or lay off a woman because of her pregnancy. While an employer cannot outright refuse to hire someone because she is pregnant, a hiring manager can ask questions during the interview process that may make her uncomfortable.
What does the law say about discrimination against pregnant women?
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 states that it is unlawful to discriminate against a woman who is pregnant, including concerning hiring, firing, terms and conditions of employment or any other aspect of the workplace. There are some exemptions for employers. They can show a preference in hiring or firing based on pregnancy, but it must be within reason.
For instance, if the job involves heavy lifting, standing for long periods or other physical demands, an employer may have a good reason for not hiring a pregnant woman.
An employer cannot refuse to hire someone because of pregnancy if the applicant can do all the required tasks.
In conclusion, employers and employees must know and follow the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to avoid discriminating against pregnant women in any way. This includes not firing or refusing to hire a woman because of her pregnancy. All this is basically meant to ensure that all women have the chance to succeed in their careers without any setbacks.