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5 things pregnant women should know about discrimination

Pregnant women have special protections under federal and New York state laws. These women shouldn't have to deal with discrimination that is based only on the fact that they are pregnant. It is imperative that all pregnant women learn their rights so they can exercise them appropriately.

#1: Discrimination based on pregnancy is illegal

Employers can't discriminate against an employee because she is pregnant. This includes bypassing her for raises and promotions. It also extends to the offering of benefits and coming back to work after medical leave. Employers can't decline to offer a pregnant woman benefits, such as life insurance or bonus programs, simply because she is pregnant. They also can't require the pregnant woman to bring a doctor's note to come back to work after sick leave unless they require a note from non-pregnant employees.

#2: Pregnancy discrimination occurs at various times

Pregnancy discrimination can occur during the hiring process and at any time during the course of employment. Interviewers can't ask a woman questions about whether she is pregnant. If it is obvious that the woman is expecting a child, the interviewer can't use that information when making a decision about hiring the woman.

#3: Pregnant women can file complaints about discrimination

A pregnant woman who suffers from discrimination at work can file a complaint against the employer. She might be able to file a complaint to the management or human resources personnel if there is one single employee discriminating against her. A formal complaint against the company might also be appropriate if the discrimination is considerable or if the employer didn't take any action regarding a previously filed complaint.

#4: Retaliation is forbidden

Retaliation against a pregnant woman is forbidden. As long as the claims in the complaint were factual, the business can't fire her or take any negative actions toward her based on the complaints. Some examples of retaliatory measures include moving the woman to another, less desirable shift or position, cutting her hours, docking her pay or firing her.

#5: Protections extend to breastfeeding mothers

New York laws enable women to pump milk for their babies for up to three years after birth. The woman can use her breaks, lunch and unpaid breaks to pump. She must be provided with a place where she won't have to deal with interruptions where she can pump. The location can't be a bathroom. Employers are strictly forbidden from retaliating against a woman just because she exercises her right to pump breast milk at work for her baby.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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