According to a report by The Washington Post, violations of the employee laws that protect women from workplace discrimination when they’re pregnant are on the rise. Since 2005, labor attorneys have seen an increase of claims of over 20% from women who know their rights for employees are being trampled.
Unfortunately, in all likelihood, these types of violations of your rights as an employee are more prevalent than the reports show. Part of the problem is that too many women have no idea what rights they have and what the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) actually protects them from. If this sounds like you, keep reading to start protecting yourself from employers who still think they live in the 1950’s.
Three Facts You Need to Know About the Employee Laws That Bar Pregnancy Discrimination
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Only Applies to Businesses with at Least 15 Employees
- Discrimination Starts when You’re Hired
- If You Can Do Your Job, Your Hours Can’t Be Cut
As the American Association of University Women suggests, the PDA unfortunately only applies to businesses who have more than 15 employees. The reasoning behind it is a whole other discussion, but for now, you should know that if you work for a small company with less than the required number of workers, you can still find help. Many state and local agencies work to fight pregnancy discrimination using the power of the law, regardless of the size of your business.
Many women make the mistake of believing they can’t be discriminated against until an employer actually hires them. However, as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission points out, the employee laws laid out in the PDA protect you from the second you apply for a job. That means that if you’re refused an interview or the actual job because you’re pregnant, it is illegal.
A large number of American women find that once they tell their boss that they’re pregnant, their job suddenly changes — they’re suddenly assigned to doing only menial tasks or their hours or suddenly cut. As WomensHealth.gov so aptly writes, these actions are completely illegal, unless your doctor has said you need to cut back on time and certain types of work.
Have you had to seek out labor lawyers after being discriminated against because of your pregnancy? Share your experiences and any advice with us in the comment section below! Helpful links.