Are you a victim of Pregnancy Discrimination? Pregnancy discrimination is a common occurrence, and in fact, here are some statistics that will blow your mind.:

  • One out of nine expecting mothers reported that they are discriminated against at work in some way or another.
  • One out of five expecting mothers has experienced harassment by their employer or colleagues.
  • 10% of all expecting mothers get pushback from their employers when trying to make medical appointments for their prenatal check-ups.

Harassment in the workplace on the basis of Pregnancy Discrimination is very real, and it have been around for centuries.

Law Protecting Women From Pregnancy Discrimination

In 1978, Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is implemented to help protect expecting mothers from being discriminated against. PDA forbids discrimination based on pregnancy. This is enforced by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Filing a Pregnancy Discrimination

Workplace discrimination because of your pregnancy status is against the law, and if you are suspect that you are facing pregnancy discrimination, or any other form of gender discrimination at your workplace you can always contact organizations such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Advisory (WHDA)

This table shows the list of pregnancy discrimination charges filed with the EEOC and pregnancy discrimination claims in the United States alone.

YearChargesMonetary Benefits (Millions)
Pregnancy Discrimination in the United States


“What is consider pregnancy discrimination?”

Here we will show you a few most common examples of pregnancy discrimination on the various aspect of employment in the workplace!

Examples of Pregnancy Discrimination at Workplace

Pregnancy discrimination is any type of discrimination against a pregnant worker, creating a hostile work environment of the worker facing childbirth. Here are some common examples of employment discrimination against pregnant workers.

1. Firing Employee Because She is Pregnant

Some employers may fire their pregnant employees after their employees inform them of their pregnancy.

These employers usually give 2 different reasons, which are totally unacceptable according to federal law:

  • The employers may believe that the baby may interfere with the employee’s ability to perform their job.
  • Or, the employer may believe the physical nature of the job will be bad for the pregnant employee’s health.

Although, being pregnant does not mean your company cannot terminate you from your job.

But it is illegal for your employer to fire you because you are pregnant.

As an expecting mother, you are protected from pregnancy discrimination by Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).

2. Refuse To Hire An Employee Because Of Her Pregnancy

Did your interviewer ask you about your family plan? Such as…

“Are you planning to get pregnant?”

Your interviewer might just be breaking the law when asking that question.

Similar questions that should not be asked by an interviewer:

  • “Are you just married?”
  • “How many kids are you planning to have?”
  • “If your kid is sick, but you have an important project to complete, what will you do?

Employers are generally not allowed to make hiring decisions based on your family status.

Most employers still ask these questions as they have the misconception that women that are pregnant may not be able to fully commit to their job due to their kids.

Hiring decisions should be based on your capabilities and not if you are married, have kids, or are soon to be having kids.

When you are rejected from getting hired due to your pregnancy, this can be considered as pregnancy discrimination and is not allowed by federal law.

3. Harassing An Employee For Being Pregnant

In every workplace, there are some colleagues who have an unwelcome personalities. These workplace bullies can be your boss, clients, business partners, or your coworkers.

Negative remarks, bad jokes, and idiotic comments that interfere with a pregnant employee’s work performance, and create a hostile, or discriminated working environment are considered harassment.

These unwelcome actions can be very annoying.

Some harassment that has escalated to the level of intimidation, threats, or even physical assaults should not be ignored.

Not only these frequent and pervasive conduct can affect your work performance, but it can also affect both your mental and physical health.

When you are face with harassment for being pregnant at work. Report it!

4. Demoting An Employee For Being Pregnant

Demoting employees based on the stereotype about her abilities to work because she is pregnant is outright against the law.

Change of the job role can only occur when:

  • The employee requested a job reassignment
  • The employee indicate she was unable to perform her job duties

Under no circumstances that the employer should demote the pregnant employee, because of her pregnancy and pregnancy-related medical condition.

This action violates the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy.

In addition, this conduct may also violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits impairments resulting from pregnancy.

5. Not Providing Pregnant Employees A Place To Pump Breast Milk

According to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers with more than 50 employees are required to provide a reasonable amount of breaks for pregnant moms and recently-pregnant employees to pump breast milk.

The place provided should be safe, secure, and private.

What is considered a reasonable amount of break time to express their milk or pump during the work period?

Let’s look at some of the stats:

  • Typically, pregnant women pump every 2-3 hours.
  • Two to three times per 8-hour work period.
  • Three to four times per 12-hour work period.
  • On average, it will take 15 to 20 minutes to express milk, not including the traveling time or the setting up/ cleaning of the breast pump attachments.

Studies shows, most mothers spend around 1 hour in total per workday to pump.

What should the space accommodation be like for nursing employees?

First off, it should be a place other than a bathroom.

The nursing room should have the following:

  • Functional: Have a chair and a flat surface for pumping equipment.
  • Private: A place that is shielded from view.
  • Safe: Free from intrusion with the ability to lock the doors.
  • Dedicated place: Available when a mother needs to pump breast milk.

The place can be permanent, flexible or temporary, depending on your industry.

6. Not Giving Pregnancy-Related Medical Leave

Pregnant employees may occasionally need to go for a medical check-up or prenatal check-up.

According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (ACT), employers are required to allow a pregnant employee to take disability leave, or leave without pay if an employee is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy.

Employers should treat a pregnant employee the same way as an employee who is not pregnant:

  • Employers should not force an employee who is limited by pregnancy or related medical conditions to consume her sick leave before using other types of leave.
  • Employers should not force a pregnant employee to take a shorter leave.
  • Employers should not stop an employee from taking no-pay leave.

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the employer is required to keep the pregnant employee’s job open while she is on leave.

The period of time should be the same as what they would do for employees who are sick or on temporary disability leave.

Key Takeaway?

Leave for pregnant employees should be given under the same terms and conditions as their employees who have an equivalent ability or inability to work.

7. Retaliation Against A Pregnant Employee Who Files A Discrimination Claim

According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation against employees who files discrimination claims is the most reported form of discrimination.

Not all employers make a positive change for their pregnant employees after being reported for discrimination, some will take “revenge” on the whistle-blower.

Here’s what happened:

  1. First, an employee file a report about workplace pregnancy discrimination.
  2. Then, the employer blames the employee for reporting the discrimination.
  3. Finally, the employer retaliates against the employee for filing a discrimination claim.

Examples of repercussions:

  • Bad performance review.
  • Firing of the employee after filing of the claim.
  • Demotion of the employee.
  • Harassment in the form of verbal or physical.

Any of these repercussions are considered discrimination against pregnant employees and should be reported for the offense.

So, What to Do When Faced with Pregnancy-Related Discrimination?

You may approach respective organizations for help:

  • United States: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  for assistance.
  • United Kingdom: Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
  • Canada: Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)
  • Australia: Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Singapore: Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE)

In addition, if you want to learn a few important steps to protect yourself against pregnancy discrimination.

You can check out this article on,

“Misconceptions of Pregnant Workers’ Rights?”

Check out this video below!

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