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Helpful ways to protect against discrimination

As we highlighted in our previous post, being pregnant in the workforce can be difficult. Additionally, trying to find work while pregnant can be equally troublesome. Although California and federal law provides protections for pregnant women in the workplace, it is prudent to know how to protect yourself from discriminatory practices while still maintaining your employment

Put it in writing – If you feel that you are being discriminated against, don’t just tell HR about your suspicions. Put them in writing. This is particularly important for employers that have more than 15 employees, for you may be protected by specific laws such as the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Also, if you are subsequently retaliated against for complaining, there is a ready-made paper trail to help your case.

Understand any employment decisions – If your hours are being reduced, you are reassigned, forced to take unpaid leave or summarily let go, be sure to get an explanation behind the decisions being made; even if it does not make sense. The explanation should also be put it writing.

Don’t be afraid to say that you are pregnant – It is understandable to be afraid to tell your employer that you are expecting, but if they find out that you are pregnant before you announce it, and they fire you, they could claim that they were unaware of your pregnancy, which could stifle discrimination claims that you may bring against your employer.

Make sure your supervisor knows about any limitations – This is especially important when it comes to accommodations that may be needed on a temporary basis. Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. 

Source: “Pregnant? 5 Ways to protect yourself at work,” Tom Spiggle, March 18, 2014

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