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Pregnant women often experience workplace discrimination

| Feb 2, 2017 | Employment Law

Signs indicate that Missouri is well on its way to becoming a right-to-work state, which would essentially mean that as a Missouri employee, you could be terminated at any time and for virtually any reason. There is a major caveat, however. Even if Missouri does move forward with becoming a right-to-work state, state employers may not fire you for reasons that infringe upon your civil rights, such as pregnancy status.

Sadly, pregnancy discrimination, or having a superior or coworker treat you unfavorably because you are carrying a child, is a growing problem in America, despite the fact that pregnant employees are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination while at work if you experience the following situations.

Denied temporary disability leave

Any employer who makes temporary disability leave available to his or her workforce must, too, offer it to female employees who are disabled on account of their pregnant conditions. Additionally, if the employer has a certain number of employees in the workforce and the pregnant employee has been there for more than a year, that employee is eligible for 12 weeks of leave (which may be paid or unpaid) under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Subject to on-the-job harassment because of your status

You also have the right to a harassment-free workplace, and no one there is lawfully allowed to harass you simply because you are carrying a child. Superiors and coworkers are not allowed to engage in harassing behavior that leads you to feel uncomfortable or offended in the workplace, and they are also not allowed to harass you to a point where you may be demoted or terminated because of it.

Denied the right to breastfeed during business hours

New mothers, too, have certain rights in the workplace, and one of those rights protects them if they decide to breastfeed or pump breast milk while on the job. In addition to giving new mothers a reasonable amount of time in which to do so, employers must also provide an adequate, private space (not a bathroom or a space where coworkers, clients or customers may visit) where breastfeeding or pumping can be performed safely and sanitarily.

While these are some of the more commonly seen instances of pregnancy discrimination in American society, there are other areas, too, in which your employer may treat you unfairly because of your condition. If you feel you have been a victim of pregnancy discrimination at work, you may want to get in touch with an attorney.

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