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Handling discrimination situations is tough. Here’s a cheat sheet for pregnancy discrimination: Pregnancy discrimination rights are closely aligned with those of employees with disabilities, in that temporary adjustments to work duties are permitted during pregnancy so employees can keep their jobs. In addition to those rights, pregnant employees should be free from discrimination or harassment from their employers, supervisors and colleagues. Read more on the PDA and how it works with your organization.

What is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from harassing or discriminating against a woman based on pregnancy, childbirth or any medical condition related to their pregnancy or childbirth. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is part of Title VII which prohibits gender discrimination.

Who does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act protect?

The PDA applies to businesses with 15 or more employees. Any company with fewer than 15 employees should research their state’s pregnancy leave and pregnancy discrimination policies, because some states do offer similar protections that apply to all businesses, no matter the size.

What rights do pregnant employees have?

Pregnant women should be treated the same as any other employee with a disability or medical condition, meaning that they should be offered a reasonable accommodation similar to employees with disabilities. For example, some pregnant women in more physically-demanding jobs may need temporary adjustments to their duties in order to continue working during their pregnancy. More specifically, employers may offer pregnant employees alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave if they offer those accommodations for other temporarily disabled employees.

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act provision, pregnant women can’t be fired or demoted, nor can they be denied promotions, raises, or benefits because they are pregnant or may become pregnant. Employers also cannot force a pregnant employee to take leave because she is pregnant. As long as she is able to perform her job duties, she is entitled to continue working. Similarly, pregnant women who feel their rights

The PDA works in conjunction with other anti-discrimination laws.

Pregnant women and new parents (whether biological, adopted, or foster) may also be eligible for extended FMLA leave. Employees working for at least 12 months for an employer with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of leave.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also protects individuals from employment discrimination because of a disability. Pregnant women may have a disability because of a condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.

These laws protect current and past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. Employers should ensure hiring and reward systems are not discriminating against pregnant employees.