Most women already know that finding a job while you’re visibly pregnant can be difficult, if not impossible. Employers can not legally ask if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and they are not allowed to make hiring decisions based on pregnancy, but many still do. In some ways, it’s even worse when a company you’ve been working for decides to discriminate against you because of pregnancy. You may have put in months or years of hard work, but suddenly your employer no longer views you as a valuable and worthwhile employee. Your employer could even try to fire you.
You deserve better, and so do any future women who become pregnant while working for your employer. It can be frightening to assert your rights, especially when you’re pregnant and potentially reliant on employer insurance for your medical care. However, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you suspect your employer is mistreating you or refusing to accommodate you because of your pregnancy.
Federal law protects pregnant women from workplace discrimination
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) considers pregnancy to be a protected medical condition. That means that legally, your employer can not consider your pregnancy when making decisions about your hiring, firing, pay or advancement within a company. Additionally, your employer should allow for reasonable accommodations, such as a position that lets you get off your feet or no longer requiring heavy lifting during pregnancy. Sometimes, instead of accommodating a pregnant woman’s needs, a company will become hostile to try to force her to quit.
Even though pregnancy leave is generally unpaid in the United States, many employers still begrudge this time off to pregnant workers. Instead of looking at the big picture and how dedicated you have been and will be to the company, your employer may see you as a liability and try to push you out of your position. You may start getting written up for minor things while coworkers are not. You may suddenly get worse shifts, fewer shifts or more difficult or unpleasant tasks. Your wages or benefits could be cut. In some cases, your employer could even overtly fire you while pregnant.
An attorney helps you fight back
Like all pregnant women, you deserve reasonable accommodations for your medical needs while pregnant, leave after your labor and delivery and the ability to return to your position after your leave. If your employer is discriminating against you because of your pregnancy, you need to speak with an experienced Texas workplace and employment law attorney. He or she can advocate on your behalf to your employer and even file a civil suit to help ensure no one else is mistreated in the same way again.