Ways that pregnant women can face workplace discrimination

If you are getting ready to add a new member to your growing family, you probably have a lot on your mind. One of the last things you probably thought of are the possibilities of your pregnancy opening the door to new and unwelcome forms of discrimination at your work. But if they happen to you, it can make your pregnancy more difficult than it has to be. There are a few types of pregnancy discrimination to be on the lookout for.

Wrongful Termination

Pregnancy entails giving maternity leave to the pregnant employee once the child is born. An employer might not like the idea of having to hold your position while you are gone, or paying your salary while you aren’t at work. As a result, they could feel the temptation to let you go before you give birth so that they won’t have to worry about your maternity leave.

There are both federal and Wisconsin state laws that prohibit an employer from engaging in wrongful termination. Firing you because of your pregnancy would qualify as an improper justification for letting you go, and you can bring a discrimination lawsuit against your former employer if this happens.

Failure to provide reasonable accommodations

Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with medical conditions so that they can perform their job functions without being in danger or unreasonable discomfort. Your pregnancy qualifies as a medical condition that requires these accommodations.

If you have requested a reasonable accommodation, and your employer refuses to modify your work environment or duties to make things easier for you, you may have grounds for a discrimination suit. Consult an attorney to see if your claim might stand a chance of winning.

Verbal harassment

Sometimes an employer or fellow employees engage in harassment of pregnant employees through inappropriate comments or jokes. If these comments are persistent and extreme, they may interfere with your ability to do your job, and could create a hostile work environment that is not conducive to being able to carry out your duties or maintain your health. This type of harassment qualifies as discrimination based on your pregnancy status.

Discrimination comes in many forms. It’s important to know what your rights are in your work environment so that you can identify and put a stop to discriminatory tactics you may suffer while you are pregnant or soon thereafter. Alan C. Olson & Associates stands up for Milwaukee workers.


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