What You Need to Know About Pregnancy Discrimination


As an expecting parent, your pregnancy should be a joyful occasion. It is possible, however, that your employer may take discriminatory action towards you upon learning that you are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination is forbidden under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PMA).

What Does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act Do?

The federal PDA forbids organizations with more than 15 employees from taking a number of specific actions against expectant parents, including:

  • Firing an individual for becoming pregnant or planning for pregnancy.
  • Demoting an individual, cutting their pay, or treating them differently in the terms of their employment because they are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.
  • Refuse a position to an individual who can complete most major job functions on the basis of their pregnancy or plans for pregnancy.

In addition to the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, many states have enacted similar laws to protect pregnant individuals. If you work for an organization with less than 15 employees, and have experienced pregnancy discrimination, state and local laws may apply to your case.

What Are the Signs of Pregnancy Discrimination?

Any form of marginalizing behavior in the workplace due to a pregnancy can be pregnancy discrimination. Paternity and maternity discrimination are both forbidden under pregnancy discrimination laws, so both mothers and fathers have protection from discriminatory behavior. Here are some signs of pregnancy discrimination, especially when they occur in a pattern:

  • Poor performance reviews for expecting employees or those who are planning to become pregnant.
  • Demotions shortly after becoming pregnant or the employer learns the employee is trying to get pregnant.
  • Anti-pregnancy workplace policies, especially after it is found that an employee is pregnant or attempting to become pregnant.
  • Failure to accommodate pregnant workers.
  • Firing pregnant employees, or threatening termination to those who are trying to become pregnant.

What Can I Do If I Experience Pregnancy Discrimination?

If you suspect that you are the victim of pregnancy discrimination, it is critical to document behaviors that are discriminatory. Patterns are often helpful to prove the discrimination is the result of biases, rather than a personal issue. Try to demonstrate that your work hasn’t suffered due to your pregnancy, to help prevent your case from being discarded due to the courts viewing your employer’s actions as a rightful response to changes in your work.

You should also get in touch with an experienced employment law attorney. They can review your evidence and help you determine if you have a case. If you do, they can help you file a complaint with the correct officials and take steps to see that your rights are protected.

At Donati Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to standing up for the rights of those suffering in the face of discrimination. Our Memphis employment lawyers are backed by more than a century of collective experience, and we will help you understand your legal options for your case.

Contact our firm today for prompt legal service. Call (901) 209-5500 to speak with our team.

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