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What should you know about workplace pregnancy discrimination?

Most forms of discrimination are illegal in Idaho workplaces; pregnancy discrimination is one of them. Unfortunately, in spite of the laws, some supervisors and bosses still discriminate against employees who are in this protected class.

Understanding pregnancy discrimination laws

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, it’s illegal for employers with 15 or more workers to discriminate against any woman due to their pregnancy status. This includes aspects such as childbirth, abortion or medical conditions related to pregnancy or birth. Employers cannot withhold wages, benefits, opportunities or privileges from women under the law. They are also prohibited from firing or refusing to hire someone based on their pregnancy status.

Additionally, per this federal employment law, pregnant employees must be treated the same as any other worker and must be given the same accommodations.

Examples of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

In addition to pregnant workers or applicants being passed over for raises, promotions or positions, there are other examples of how this type of discrimination can occur. Pregnant employees sometimes ask for reasonable accommodations to help them perform the necessary functions of their jobs. Employers or supervisors refusing to provide them is considered pregnancy discrimination; pregnancy is in the same category as a disability in regard to reasonable accommodations.

Another way pregnancy discrimination can occur in the workplace is by being harassed by a supervisor, coworker, customer or client. Being forced to stop working because of continuous harassment or any other unfair treatment while still being able to work is another example of discrimination.

Reporting pregnancy discrimination

If pregnancy discrimination has happened to you, documenting everything is the first step in protecting your rights. You have the right to file a complaint against your employer if they fail to uphold and abide by the laws.

Review the company’s policy against pregnancy discrimination and steps to take if it occurs. Unless your direct supervisor is perpetrating the discrimination, report the situation to them or to human resources. Once you are ready to file a formal complaint, it should be sent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.