Many women in Minnesota continue to work while they are pregnant. Some women work for their entire pregnancy while others may only be able to continue working for part of their pregnancy. Either way, employment law expressly forbids employers from discriminating against an employee because of a pregnancy.
Pregnancy discrimination and harassment
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers are not allowed to discriminate against pregnant employees or harass pregnant employees. Discrimination is forbidden in all aspects of employment, including:
- Job placements
A common example of pregnancy discrimination is when an employer decides not to hire or promote a pregnant worker based on her pregnancy. The employer may choose a less qualified candidate, assuming that the pregnant worker will require more time off. Discrimination like this is not allowed under the law. It is also illegal for an employer to create a hostile work environment for a pregnant worker.
Temporary disability related to a pregnancy
Depending on the job, pregnancy might interfere with a woman’s ability to perform all of her prior job duties. Employers must treat a pregnant worker the same way that they treat other temporarily disabled workers. The employer must provide accommodations for the pregnant employee such as light duty work, a temporary transfer to another position or disability leave.
The Family and Medical Leave Act secures further rights for pregnant employees as well as for employees who have recently given birth. If a pregnant woman has worked at a company for long enough, she may be entitled to take 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave following the birth of her child. Current employment law forbids an employer from firing a new parent just because they took family leave.
If you believe you have been discriminated against at work due to a pregnancy or recent birth, you may want to contact an attorney. An attorney may explain your rights under the law and represent you in a claim against your employer.