Out of the 68 million female workers who are working in the U.S, about 75% of them will get pregnant sometime in their lives, to certain employers they believe this is a big threat to them and tend to discriminate against pregnant women or women that have some pregnancy-related health problem. In order to prevent discrimination against women, the PDA (pregnancy discrimination Act) was enacted back in 1978. The PDA has played a vital role when it comes to protecting women again pregnancy discrimination, but despite all these laws to protect women, there are still pregnant women that face discrimination in the workplace.
The PDA has been around for more than 30 years but pregnant women still face unfair treatment from their employers. Research shows that 76% of employer won’t employ women that want to be pregnant in the next 6 months; another research study shows that a woman that appeared pregnant while seeking a job will often get rejected.
There is, of course, a law that protects pregnant women against discrimination, this falls under the civil act of 1964 which is categorized under title VII, pregnancy discrimination falls under this act. Any discrimination that concerns childbirth, pregnancy or any health-related condition related to childbirth is termed as unlawful sex discrimination. Pregnant women have to be treated equally like every other employee whether they have the same ability or not.
Hiring Conditions For Pregnant Women
No employer should deny a pregnant woman a job offer due to her pregnancy provided she can perform the basic functions of the specified job that’s expected from her. The PDA also prohibits employers from denying pregnant employees employment benefits such as promotions, training, job assignments, or altering any condition of employment due to a woman’s pregnancy.
Pregnancy & Maternity Leave
Pregnant women can work for as long as their pregnancy allows them to without an employer forcing them to leave. If an employee isn’t attending the workplace due to her pregnancy she can take leave until she recovers and the employer cannot force her to stay on leave until birth. The employer cannot terminate and prevent the employee from coming back to work after giving birth.
The PDA states that employers that allow their employees to take a leave due to temporary disability which affects the employee’s work abilities, must also give a pregnant woman the same freedom. Pregnant women must be treated just like any other employee who is facing a temporary illness and allowed a short break from work so they can recover.
Another act that also protects women from discrimination is the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). This act also allows women who just gave birth to take up to 12 weeks of leave, this can be either paid or unpaid depending on whether the employee is eligible for the benefit of paid leave or not. But in order to be qualified for this, the employee has to work for at least 12 months for the employer prior to the leave.
Temporary Disability And Pregnancy, Are They Equal?
Pregnant women and employees with a temporary disability should be treated the same. They are entitled to have modified tasks from the employer and alternative assignments giving the employee light duty and disability leave.
If an employer is providing health insurance to his workers, pregnancy expenses also must be covered just like other health-related conditions. But medical expenses that are linked to abortion aren’t covered by insurance unless the abortion is medically necessary and keeping the baby has been determined to be a danger to the woman’s life. This must be at the recommendation of a professional medical worker and then the insurance provided by the employer will cover this.
If an employer has the policy of offering benefits to employees who’re on medical leave, then he as to offer the same benefits to pregnant women who’re on a leave due to their pregnancy or childbirth condition. Every woman is entitled to all employment benefits whether she’s on medical leave or not. There are many laws that govern the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. Every pregnant woman should know her rights in the workplace and if her rights have been violated action is necessary against the employer.
If you’re pregnant and you need assistance regarding your rights in the workplace, give us a call now at Massey & Duffy for a free consultation, we are available to answer all your questions.