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Pregnant and Working? Your Rights May Be at Risk

October 8, 2021 Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy Discrimination Is a Common Problem

Pregnancy discrimination involves facing adverse treatment at work because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical issue arising from either of those. 

It’s unlawful under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), but it is unfortunately a common problem in workplaces across the country.

What Constitutes Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms. It can involve decisions made about your hiring or firing, promotion and pay, job duties and assignments, leave and employment benefits, and more.

Under the law, you are not required to tell your employer about your pregnancy or plans to become pregnant, and your employer is not supposed to ask. Employers are not permitted to refuse to hire you for a job you’re qualified for just because you’re pregnant or planning to be.

Employers are generally not allowed to treat pregnant employees differently than non-pregnant employees, and they are also not permitted to treat employees differently because they could become pregnant in the future.

Any policies that have a disparate impact on women or people with a uterus based on their potential to be pregnant is generally unlawful.

What if You Can’t Perform Your Job Because of a Pregnancy?

If you have a temporary disability that’s unrelated to pregnancy and that hinders you at work, your employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations for your condition. They should do the same if your condition arises from pregnancy or childbirth.

What that can look like depends on the person, the situation, and the condition. It may mean offering alternative assignments on a temporary basis, making a physical accommodation at work, or giving you paid or unpaid leave until you recover.

Exceptions to the PDA

The federal law only applies to people in workplaces with 15 or more employees. However, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) extends that protection to companies with four or more employees. 

Courts have generally held that employers are allowed to discriminate against pregnant people in some circumstances. For instance, religious-based organizations may be permitted to discriminate against unmarried pregnant people because of a religious objection to premarital sex. However, they must show that they treat male and female employees who have premarital sex the same.

Are You Facing Pregnancy Discrimination? Talk to an Attorney

If you have faced adverse or discriminatory treatment at work because of your pregnancy, you may have legal recourse.

You should talk to a qualified employment attorney right away. Your attorney can help you determine your rights and help you get recourse and compensation from your employer.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.