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Pregnancy is a protected status against discrimination

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Employment Law

Most Michigan employers may act at their own discretion to hire and fire employees at will. This does not mean, however, that there are never instances that constitute unlawful termination or hiring discrimination. Your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your age, gender, race, ethnicity or other protected status under U.S. employment law, such as pregnancy.

If you suffer an injury or develop a temporary disability, your employer may modify your duties, offer unpaid leave or provide disability pay. However, your employer cannot fire you because of your disability. In the same way, The Pregnancy Act protects you from losing your job due to pregnancy. Your employer must treat you the same as any other worker would with some other type of medical condition or temporary disability that impedes the ability to carry out his or her duties on the job.

Pregnancy discrimination in the hiring process

If you apply for a job in Michigan and receive an interview, the prospective employer cannot ask you if you are pregnant. Further, he or she cannot ask if you plan to become pregnant while working at the company. If this occurs, and the company rejects you for the position, you may have grounds for filing a pregnancy discrimination complaint.

An employer cannot deny you of your duties if you feel capable of the job

If you are pregnant, your employer cannot prevent you from doing your job if you feel capable of doing it. An employer cannot use issues related to your pregnancy as the determining factors to assess your ability to do your job. However, you would be subject to the same company policies as workers with other medical conditions that make them temporarily unable to work. For example, you might need a doctor’s note to return to work after taking time off due to morning sickness.

Employer-provided health insurance must cover pregnancy conditions

If you have health insurance provided by your employer, then conditions related to your pregnancy must receive the same coverage as other medical conditions. If your employer denies you coverage, you may wish to speak with an advocate who understands employment law and can help you resolve the issue.

Know your rights and how to protect them

Michigan employment law protects pregnant women against discrimination in the workplace. If you have evidence of wrongful termination, promotion denial or other penalty from your job because of pregnancy, you can file a formal complaint. It is often difficult to prove that your employer’s actions were the effect of bias involving your pregnancy, which is why it’s best to secure legal support before seeking justice.