Pregnancy discrimination is a form of workplace harassment that often does not receive as much attention as other forms of harassment. But it is prevalent nonetheless. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives more than 3,000 pregnancy discrimination complaints in a typical year.
Harassment takes many shapes. One common scenario is when an employer discriminates against a pregnant woman during the hiring process because he or she does not want to provide a new employee with paid leave in the near future. However, there are many other ways for employers to discriminate, and it is often the case that the aggrieved can pursue legal action.
Demanding medical notes from doctor
Some employers attempt to get a mother who just gave birth back to work sooner by asking the woman’s doctor if he or she claims the mother is fit enough to return to her normal work duties. This would be discrimination if the boss does not require the same documentation from other workers on short-term disability leave. A boss cannot hold employees to different standards.
Refusing to hold a position
When a woman takes her maternity leave, she should be able to come back to work with the same position she held previously. It is the responsibility of the employer to find temporary help if needed to fill the woman’s shoes until she returns, and the employer cannot deny the woman her old job by giving it to the temp permanently. The employer also cannot give the woman a different job that comes with lower pay or lower professional ranking.
Refusing to allow woman to work if she wants to
Some women will want to continue working until they are no longer able to. An employer cannot deny a woman the right to work simply because he or she believes otherwise. As long as the woman is physically capable of carrying out her tasks, then she can continue working.