While there is blatant pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, more often, it’s a little less obvious. Fortunately, there are federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against pregnant women or those with children. Knowing your legal rights may serve you well.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for an employer with 15 or more employees to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition. Moreover, women that have difficult pregnancies that result in health problems may be protected by theAmerican’s with Disabilities Act. Most often, employers fire pregnant employees, citing poor performance or violation of attendance policies, even when non-pregnant employees with similar performance are not terminated.

Here are five steps you can take to protect yourself at work:

1. Don’t wait too long to tell your employer you are pregnant. This way if you are fired or demoted, you may be able to protect yourself with anti-discrimination laws.
2. If you are still at work and believe that your employer is discriminating against you, report it, in writing, to human resources or your boss.
3. If you are fired or demoted, ask why. Again, this should be done in writing.
4. If you are having a difficult pregnancy, discuss with your doctor how this is affecting you at work. You may be entitled to “reasonable accommodations” — including time away from work for medical care, more frequent breaks, and lifting restrictions. It is best for your doctor to provide a letter explaining the issue to your employer.
5. Even if you do not plan to ask for changes at work, make sure that your boss or supervisor knows about health-related issues which you suffer from. This way, you may be protected if your employer later tries to fire or demote you.

Taking these steps can help protect you against pregnancy discrimination.

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The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.


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