Adding a new member to your family can be a source of joy and excitement for the prospective parent, but it can also complicate professional aspirations. While many women want to have it all by pursuing a career while also raising their own children, employers aren’t always flexible with mothers-to-be and new moms.
Sadly, quite a few women will experience discrimination during their pregnancy or when they attempt to return to work after their pregnancy leave, especially if they request accommodations from their employer for pregnancy-related limitations or breastfeeding/pumping.
Discrimination by your employer can result in financial hardship and career setbacks with long-term consequences. Women should not have to choose between a career and a family. Holding employers accountable for their discriminatory practices can reduce the frequency with which they wind up in exactly that situation.
Pregnancy is a protected medical condition
Pregnant women have the right the reasonable accommodation regarding the work they perform during their pregnancy and their need for leave after the birth of their child. Pregnancy and lactation for breastfeeding moms are protected medical statuses that employers should not discriminate against.
Reasonable accommodations for a pregnant woman could include allowing her to take breaks or get off her feet, changing her duties if they involve heavy lifting or manual labor or even allowing her to work remotely if a condition like pre-eclampsia requires bed rest. Accommodations for lactating moms can include offering more unpaid breaks and providing a private space for her to nurse her child or pump and store breast milk for her child.
Women whose employers discriminate against them due to pregnancy by firing them, denying them raises or creating a hostile work environment open themselves up to discrimination claims by their former employees.