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What should you know about pregnancy discrimination at work?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Workplace Discrimination

Rhode Island women who learn they’re pregnant normally look forward to meeting their future baby. Unfortunately, some may face workplace pregnancy discrimination. There are some facts to know about this illegal practice.

You’re entitled to maternity leave

Once you are in your third trimester and need to take maternity leave to prepare for the birth of your child, you have the right to do so under the Family and Medical Leave Act. You might be able to take this time earlier if you have a high-risk pregnancy.

You can’t be fired for pregnancy

It’s illegal for employers to discriminate against female employees for pregnancy in any capacity. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects women and makes it illegal for employers to fire someone based on pregnancy. If you file a discrimination claim if you believe you have faced pregnancy discrimination, your employer cannot retaliate against you.

Employers cannot ask about pregnancy

Employers are not legally permitted to question women employees or applicants about their pregnancy status. It’s illegal for them to ask whether you are pregnant, planning to be pregnant or if you have ever been pregnant. They cannot base decisions on your job or the hiring process on pregnancy. For example, if you have been working at your job for a few years and are due for a promotion, you cannot be denied that because you’re pregnant. An applicant who is pregnant likewise can’t be denied a position when she’s fully qualified due to her pregnancy.

Employers can’t treat unwed pregnant women differently

If you’re unmarried and pregnant, your employer cannot treat you differently than a pregnant employee who’s married. The only exceptions are employers that are religious organizations that have strict principles regarding premarital relations.