What Are My Rights As A Pregnant Woman In The Workplace?
When you find out that you are pregnant, your brain becomes filled with different questions about what that means for your everyday life. One of those questions may be “How will this affect my job?” This question is a very important one and it is equally important to learn the right answers. When it comes to things like this, assuming things can be dangerous because you may unknowingly be allowing your rights to be violated, especially if this is your first experience being pregnant.
Can My Employer Fire Me or Decrease my Salary for Being Pregnant?
Absolutely not. Any termination of an employee due to pregnancy should be reported as this is a blatant disrespect for employee rights and should be rectified immediately. This also applies to an employer decreasing salary or hourly pay due to pregnancy. Some employers claim that they can do this because pregnancy hinders mobility or even hinders brain function. The statement that they are allowed to decrease your pay due to these reasons is untrue and illegal.
What If My Job Requires Me to Stand All Day?
Pregnancy can cause pain while standing for too long and if you’re in a position where standing all day is just part of the job, you have the right to ask for accommodations from your employer.
These may include, but are not limited to:
- A chair to sit in
- Additional shift breaks
- Permission to work from home
- Elimination of some job functions like heavy lifting
Can My Employer Force Me To Take Time Off Or Change Jobs?
Your employer has no right to decide for you what you are and are not capable of at any time and that includes during your pregnancy. Your employer can offer, but not require, you the option to take time off or change jobs, if that is something you would be interested in.
Can My Employer Take Responsibilities Away From Me Without My Consent?
You were hired for a specific job and it is your right to continue to do that job in its entirety, if that is what you want. This includes travel, if your job includes a travel schedule; your boss cannot keep you from traveling simply because you’re pregnant. They also cannot take you out of meetings and they cannot give any clients that you have to someone else.
My Coworker Is Harassing Me About My Pregnancy, What Should I Do?
If you’re experiencing harassment in the workplace for any reason, your employer needs to know about it and needs to do something to end it. If there is someone in your office that is making inappropriate or rude comments to you about your pregnancy, report it to your employer immediately. Sexual and non-sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal.
Am I Entitled To Maternity Leave?
The answer to this question is: it depends. Some states across the US mandate maternity leave and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 also entitles eligible employees with unpaid maternity leave that protects their job so that they can return when the leave is over. If you’re not sure if you are eligible for this, call use and we can help you.
I’m Pregnant And I’m Not Married, Can My Company Deny Benefits Because Of This?
A company has no right to withhold benefits that you were given when you were hired because you became pregnant without being married. This is the case for multiple reasons, including but not limited to:
- Your employer cannot force any religious or personal beliefs on you.
- You agreed to work for this company and that came with benefits that you are entitled to.
Your rights to benefits are the same as any other pregnant woman, married or not.
My Boss Wrote Me Up Because I Had To Go To The Doctor For My Baby, Can They Do That?
Unless it happens frequently or you did not give your boss reasonable notice; no they cannot do that. It is your right as an employee to be able to go to doctor’s appointments and it is your right as a pregnant woman to go to prenatal doctor’s appointments. However, if this right is abused and you’re going to doctors’ appointments 3-4 times a week and are paid a set salary, then there is a chance that these consequences are warranted.
Lastly, it is important you know your rights. You deserve to have your rights protected and enforced.
If you believe that you or someone you know may have been victim to discrimination due to their pregnancy, give us a call. We’d love to help you and answer any questions you have.