Pregnancy discrimination complaints are on the rise.
An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, because of a pregnancy-related condition, or because of the prejudices of co-workers, clients, or customers. Similarly, an employer cannot discriminate against a pregnant woman in the terms and conditions of employment because of her pregnancy.
If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job because of her pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, if the employer allows temporarily disabled employees to modify tasks, perform alternative assignments, take disability leave or leave without pay, the employer also must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled because of pregnancy to do the same.
Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. If an employee has been absent from work as a result of a pregnancy-related condition and recovers, her employer may not require her to remain on leave until the baby’s birth. An employer also may not have a rule that prohibits an employee from returning to work for a predetermined length of time after childbirth.
Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave.