Are you a pregnant woman or a mother? If you’re looking for a job, potential employers can’t hold these factors against you when making hiring decisions. Additionally, if you’re already employed, your employer can’t discriminate against you for becoming pregnant or having a child.
Unfortunately, maternal discrimination can, and does, happen. You may be able to take legal action if you’ve experienced such discrimination in the workplace.
What Is Maternal Discrimination?
Both federal law and numerous state laws prohibit employers from engaging in discrimination against workers and job candidates who are pregnant or who have children. Pregnancy or maternal discrimination occur when employers disregard these laws. A woman who is the victim of such discrimination may pursue justice by taking legal action, such as filing a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a relevant state agency.
What Are Examples of Maternity Discrimination?
Maternal discrimination or pregnancy discrimination can take many forms. The following are just a few general examples:
- Refusing to hire job candidates who are pregnant or are already mothers
- Not making reasonable accommodations for a pregnant employee, such as not allowing them to sit when performing duties during which they would normally stand
- Firing an employee who becomes pregnant or has a child
- Denying an employee a promotion they have earned because they have become pregnant or had a child
Again, those are just a few examples. Sometimes, it’s not clear whether an employer’s actions (or inaction) qualify as instances of pregnancy discrimination. If you’re not sure whether you have a valid case, you can speak with a maternity discrimination lawyer for more information.
What To Do If You Experience Maternal Discrimination
Do you believe you've been the victim of maternity discrimination in the workplace? You may have grounds to take legal action against an employer if so. To strengthen your case, follow these steps:
- Gather evidence: Collect any evidence you may have of maternal discrimination or pregnancy discrimination. Potential examples of evidence you might gather include emails, voicemail messages, chat logs, etc.
- Identify witnesses: Coworkers and various other individuals may have witnessed instances of maternal discrimination. Make a list of their names.
- Keep a log: Every time you have an experience that may qualify as an instance of maternity discrimination or pregnancy discrimination, write down a description of the experience, when it occurred, and who was involved (including witnesses).
Report your concerns to Human Resources (HR). Even if your company’s HR department does little to address the issue, showing you attempted to resolve it internally may improve your chances of winning a legal case later.
Get Help With Your Discrimination Claim
Research indicates nearly one out of every four mothers has considered leaving a job due to an employer failing to make proper accommodations for them. Unfortunately, pregnancy and maternity discrimination continue to remain problems across a range of industries.
Do you believe you’ve been the victim of such discrimination? If so, strongly consider learning more about your legal options by discussing the matter with an employment lawyer. Get started by taking the Free Case Evaluation on this page today to get connected and speak with a maternal discrimination attorney who can help.