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Is pregnancy protected in the workplace?

It can be difficult to know how to engage in your career once you become pregnant. Many employers, unfortunately, do not greet pregnancy with open arms and an encouraging attitude. In many cases, an employer may be outright hostile to a pregnant woman in the workforce. The sad reality of the matter is that pregnancy discrimination is a very real thing, so much so that the law recognizes it and extends pregnant women certain special protections under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

It is important to note that the regulations of the PDA only apply to employers with at least 15 employees. Companies that do not meet this threshold may be more difficult to fight if they act in a discriminatory manner — but that does not mean that you should accept unfair treatment.

In general, an employer is not allowed to discriminate against a pregnant employee or applicant based on the pregnancy. One of the most crucial protections the act offers is that employers who offer workplace health benefits must offer coverage for pregnancy and pregnancy-related issues.

It is also vital to understand that it is illegal for you to be fired because of your pregnancy. Unfortunately, this is a practice that is surprisingly common — especially considering that each and every person on Earth owes their existence to a pregnant woman. One might think that the universality of this experience would engender goodwill on every front, but this is sadly not always the case.

If you are pregnant, or if you faced unfair treatment during a recent pregnancy, you deserve to have your experience professionally evaluated. An experienced attorney can help you understand the finer points of the law as it applies to you, and ensure that your rights remain protected.

Source: FindLaw, "Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace," accessed Feb. 03, 2017

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