Women who are pregnant do not have any obligation to put an employer on notice of their condition until they wish to request time off. People typically choose to inform their employers of their pregnancies for logistical reasons around planning time-off.
If someone chooses to inform her employer that she is pregnant, it would be discriminatory for the employer to take any adverse action against her because of the pregnancy. Here are some key elements of pregnancy discrimination that pregnant women who are working or seeking employment should be aware of.
There are protections for pregnant workers
Both federal law and Washington’s statutory law establish protections for workers who are pregnant. For the most part, laws about discrimination and health refer primarily to permanent disability. While pregnancy is not a permanent condition, it may result in a temporarily disabling condition. However, Washington Law Against Discrimination interprets unfair treatment on the basis of pregnancy to be a form of discrimination based on sex.
Pregnant workers may take leave without retaliation
All pregnant employees are able to take time off of work in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act in addition to the state’s regulations. Employers cannot treat an employee any differently because she chooses to take leave.
While there has been noticeable progress over a period spanning many years, discrimination against pregnant workers continues to affect women across virtually every occupational field. People who have been negatively affected by this type of mistreatment in the workplace should not hesitate to seek enforcement of their rights and pursue an effective remedy.