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What qualifies as pregnancy harassment?

When it comes to workplace harassment, one of the most commonly misunderstood areas affects pregnant women. The American Association of University Women claims that there are 68 million women in the workplace across the country, 75 percent of whom will become pregnant at least once. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was created to prevent business owners from discriminating against expectant mothers in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common forms of discrimination that are covered:

Missed promotions

In businesses with more than 15 employees, the PDA prevents pregnant women from being bypassed for promotions or reassigned unnecessarily. Their maternal status can also not be used to determine hiring or firing.

Job holding

Most women need to take some time off after having a baby to recover and adjust to the new role of mother. In this case, the woman needs to be treated as any other employee would who was on leave for disability or sickness. Her job must be held for the same amount of time as other employees and other considerations given, such as vacation time accrual and pay increases.

Altered benefits

Single employees are often offered different benefit options than those who are married or have a family. Once a woman becomes pregnant, she must be offered pregnancy-related benefits even if she is not married.

Pregnancy impairments

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that any conditions that occur as a result of pregnancy may be eligible to be considered a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that impairments such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes are both possible disabilities that can be covered. If your condition requires that you have modified duties at work, your employer must provide these if it is possible to do so.

Maternity leave

While not every employer is required to give maternity leave, those who allow sick or disabled employees to take a leave must do the same for new mothers. The Family and Medical Leave Act also states that if the other disabled employees are required to obtain a doctor's note before receiving benefits or taking leave, the pregnant woman will be required to do the same. This does not mean that the woman will be paid during maternity leave, but should be treated the same as other disabled employees. The same privileges should also apply to foster or adoptive parents.

If you feel you have been mistreated or that your employer has violated the laws against pregnancy harassment in any way, speak with an attorney today. An experienced lawyer knows how to fight for your rights and seek compensation for any damages incurred.

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