Pregnancy discrimination happens in many different ways. Some women who are visibly pregnant may struggle to find companies that are willing to hire them. Women already employed when they become pregnant may discover that their employer is not willing to offer them reasonable accommodations during their pregnancy, which may force them to resign from their position.
Unfortunately, the discrimination that starts when a worker is pregnant can affect her career for years. It can also cause stress with medical effects for both mother and child. Even after you give birth to your child, you may still have to suffer through discrimination resulting from your pregnancy.
Your employer might make it unnecessarily difficult to get back to work
Some companies have no trouble accommodating a pregnant worker while she keeps coming in for her shifts but may resent the leave of absence that comes from late-term pregnancy complications and the birth of a child.
Even if your employer does not offer any kind of maternity leave, federal law entitles you to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child. Your employer should allow you to take leave and then come back to the same job. If they replaced you and won’t offer you the same shift, the same title or the same compensation as they did before your maternity leave, their actions might constitute discrimination.
The company may no longer view you as a rising star
If you have previously enjoyed stellar performance reviews and an undeniable upward trajectory at your work, becoming a parent might change that. Companies may have the outdated idea that new mothers will always put their child ahead of their professional development, even though many women are perfectly capable of balancing demanding careers and parenthood.
You might find that you simply don’t receive the same opportunities or even that the company no longer gives you positive performance reviews now that you’ve taken maternity leave.
The business might refuse to accommodate your lactation needs
Pregnancy is a protected medical condition that inevitably gives rise to another protected medical condition, which is lactation. After the birth of your child, your body will begin producing milk.
If you aim to give your child all of the benefits that come from breast milk, you may want to continue providing milk after you have to return to work. Your employer might refuse to give you the accommodations required under the law, like a private place to pump and breaks during which to express milk.
If you have encountered any of these or other forms of pregnancy discrimination, you may need to fight back against your employer for your own sake and the sake of other women who will work there in the future.