Have You Been Asking “What Are My Rights as a Pregnant Employee?”

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When you enter into a professional contract with a business, you have a reasonable expectation that your rights as an employee will be respected. Employee rights, as employment lawyers can tell you, range from being compensated for your work time, being treated as a person instead of like chattel, and being protected from wrongful dismissal in certain circumstances, like temporary illness and injury.

What if You’re a Woman?
Unfortunately, many of the rights guaranteed to employees seemingly go out the window when a female is involved. As Nolo.com writes, being treated differently from other employees simply because of your gender is the definition of sex discrimination. In 2012, the most recent year statistics were compiled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, over 30,000 cases of sex discrimination, 30.5% of all discrimination cases, were brought to employment attorneys and later brought to court. Common types of sexual discrimination include:

  • The Glass Ceiling- If you’re denied a promotion because of your sex that is a form of sex discrimination.
  • Pay Disparity- Working the same job with the same qualifications but receiving a smaller paycheck because of your gender is an extremely common form of sex discrimination. According to the Center for American Progress, American women make 9% less than their male counterparts in the same positions.
  • Preferential Hiring- Some sex discrimination occurs before you’re even hired. Oftentimes, discriminating employers will purposely pass over qualified female applicants to hire a male.

What Are My Rights as a Pregnant Employee?
One of the most prevalent types of sex discrimination is when a woman is fired or otherwise negatively impacted at work simply because she’s pregnant. As Nolo.com points out, until 1978, Supreme Court precedents established that discrimination against pregnant women wasn’t sex discrimination, effectively giving businesses carte blanche to fire and otherwise abuse pregnant women.

Nowadays, however, if you ask employment lawyers “what are my rights as a pregnant employee,” you’ll find that your rights are many. Following the implementation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, employers must try to reasonably accommodate your needs as a pregnant woman. If you’ve been constantly asking yourself “what are my rights as a pregnant employee,” then here are a few you absolutely need to know:

  • Temporary Disability Due to Pregnancy- As written on WomensHealth.gov, women who are temporarily disabled or otherwise limited by a health condition that is directly related to their pregnancy must be afforded the same considerations as other disabled workers. In other words, if they are fired simply because of these health problems, that may be in violation of wrongful dismissal law.
  • FMLA Maternity Leave- While the United States is still trailing far behind other countries in terms of guaranteeing paid maternity leave to mothers, pregnant women are eligible under the Family and Medical Leave Act to up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave so that they may care for themselves and their new children.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that no matter how far we’ve come in terms of equality, we still have a lot more work to do. If you’ve become pregnant and you’re worried about your career, contact employment rights attorneys who can answer all of your questions about sex discrimination. For more information, read this website: St. louis employment lawyer

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