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Pregnancy: Protected against discrimination

As a woman in the workplace, one of your fears may be that you could lose your job because you want to start a family. Pregnancy is, fortunately, protected under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC's) laws and regulations. Federal law bans employers from making decisions about hiring or firing as a result of your pregnancy or intention to have a family in the future. Employers can't ask you about your plans in an interview and may not use your plans against you in the workplace.

If you are unable to perform your job duties temporarily because you are pregnant, you may qualify for temporary disability and be able to have your employer make reasonable accommodations for you. For example, if you're having trouble standing for an eight-hour shift, it would be reasonable to ask for a chair or extra breaks to sit down and rest.

You employer may also decide to assign you temporarily to a new task or to provide temporary leave through disability or unpaid leave. Any major impairments that result from your pregnancy, like preeclampsia, may also fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), further preventing your employer from retaliating or discriminating against you.

As a woman, you are given all the same rights as men in the workplace and shouldn't have to worry about losing your job if you decide to have a family. With support, you can stop employers from discriminating against you and pursue a lawsuit if you believe you've been retaliated against or faced discrimination because of your choice to have a family.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Pregnancy Discrimination," accessed April 26, 2018

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