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What constitutes pregnancy discrimination?

There was a time in the past when pregnancy meant the end of a working woman's career. A pregnant woman could not work in the eyes of most employers. Therefore, before pregnancy discrimination laws existed, many women found themselves not being hired, being terminated from their jobs or facing other negative employment consequences as soon as they became pregnant. This was devastating for them because it would often happen at exactly the moment when they needed their jobs the most.

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers cannot discriminate against pregnant women when:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Determining pay
  • Giving job assignments
  • Offering promotions
  • Training
  • Laying off
  • Awarding fringe benefits

In some cases, a pregnant woman won't be able to perform various job duties as a result of her pregnancy and restrictions placed on her by her doctor. When this happens, however, an employer must treat her the same as any other employee dealing with a temporarily disabling condition. For instance, the employer could assign lighter duties, alternative work, disability leave, unpaid leave or some other kind of reasonable accommodation to the pregnant employees.

Any kind of pregnancy harassment is also illegal. Employees should never be subjected to ridicule, unfair treatment or shaming as a result of being pregnant.

In spite of the laws and protections, Michigan women may still find themselves being subjected to discrimination on the job. If you are being discriminated against in any way because you're pregnant, you may want to seek out an experienced workplace discrimination attorney who can help protect your legal rights and advise you of your most appropriate next steps.

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