Pregnancy should be a joyous occasion of anticipation and excitement, but many expectant mothers struggle with workplace difficulties. Despite the legal prohibition, pregnancy discrimination still happens more often than it should. If you are expecting, you need to be aware of the signs of discrimination to protect your interests.
Discrimination can happen in all stages of the employment cycle.
Issues as a job-seeker
Your pregnancy should not be a factor in any potential job opportunity. When you apply or interview for a job, remember that it is illegal for potential employers to ask if you are pregnant or planning to have children. You are not legally required to disclose your pregnancy during the candidacy process and any questions about your child-rearing plans may be discriminatory.
Problems as an employee
When you tell your employer that you are pregnant, the news should not change your treatment at work. If you face harassment about your pregnancy, including comments about your size or changing body shape, or implications that you are leaving the company in a lurch, that could be discrimination. The same is true if your employer refuses accommodations for pregnancy complications.
Challenges on maternity leave
Your position is legally protected when you are on FMLA for maternity leave. If your employer terminates you while on FMLA or immediately after your return, you may have a case for discrimination.
You should understand your rights as a pregnant employee before your employer ever finds out you are pregnant. Watch for signs of discrimination and stand up for yourself.