Pregnant employees are no less than other employees of the company and therefore, must be entitled to exercise similar facilities and in fact, receive adequate liberal treatment. Discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical issues come under unlawful sex discrimination.
Pregnancy discrimination involves discrimination of a pregnant woman at workplace because of her pregnancy. It includes being fired after informing an employer about pregnancy, not being hired because of being pregnant and being fired after the completion of maternity leave. Receiving reduced amount of pay due to pregnancy, not given health benefits that have been given to other employees and prejudice/s against expecting employees is also a kind of pregnancy discrimination.
Every company has an employee handbook. Read it if you are being harassed by your employer or co-workers. Many companies have established anti-pregnancy discrimination policies and their employee manual carries this information. It will guide you in reporting complaints related to pregnancy discrimination at workplace.
Any form of pregnancy discrimination must be immediately brought to the notice of your supervisor and the human resource department. On receiving your complaint, the responsible authority will take necessary action to investigate the complaint and ensure that the matter is addressed.
If your company fails to take appropriate action, you can report it to your state’s Department of Labour. They will inform you about the complaint avenues available to you and may probe into the alleged discriminatory claims on their own.
Talk to your co-workers. They may form a group to support you against the unacceptable behaviour of your employer.
An employer cannot decline/terminate the services of a pregnant employee nor can refuse a pregnant woman the job she is capable of doing. Also, an employer cannot refuse to pay for the services rendered by the pregnant woman.
A pregnant employee should be treated equally as other employees. If the expectant mother fails to carry on with her duties due to her condition, the employer must give offer the same treatment as he/she would give to any other employee. If a pregnant employee wishes to perform her job as long as she wants, no employer can prohibit her from doing so. It is her wish to avail maternity leave whenever she wants to. No employer can force the pregnant employee to take maternity leave when she doesn’t need it.
Discrimination at workplace during pregnancy is a common experience and the women experiencing it should not be afraid of speaking for their right for equal treatment in the office.
Read more articles on Pregnancy and Work.
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