Long ago, the workforce in Michigan and across the country primarily consisted of men. A significant shift occurred during World War II. Since then, women have become key figures in the American workplace, accounting for approximately half of the workforce. Sadly, many women experience challenging employment law issues, such as pregnancy discrimination on the job.
Employers must address pregnancy like any other medical condition
The U.S. Department of Labor states that approximately 85% of the female workforce across the country will, at some point, become pregnant while employed. If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her work duties because of pregnancy, an employer must offer the same accommodations available to other workers who experience medical conditions that temporarily impede their ability to carry out their duties in the workplace. For instance, an employer might offer a pregnant worker alternate assignments, unpaid leave or disability leave, as needed.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects women from unfair treatment
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against pregnant women during the employment application process or regarding on-the-job issues, such as promotions, fringe benefits, training, layoffs or termination. Protection under The Pregnancy Discrimination Act extends to hostile treatment from co-workers, who may make intrusive comments, socially isolate or exhibit other discriminatory behavior toward a pregnant woman in a workplace setting. A landmark study conducted at Baylor University showed that pregnancy discrimination in the workplace not only has a negative effect on a pregnant woman’s health and emotional well-being but also places her child at risk for adverse health conditions.
Things to keep in mind if pregnancy discrimination occurs
A pregnant woman has legal protections on her side in the workplace. Employers are obligated to prevent bias against expectant mothers. Any Michigan employee who has experienced unfair treatment or hostility on the job because of pregnancy may take legal steps to resolve the matter. It is helpful to schedule a meeting with an experienced employment law attorney before heading to court.