The desire to start or grow a family shouldn’t cause added stress when it comes to being hired, job security, or receiving a promotion. If you’re pregnant or planning to have a child, you have rights and protections under The Indiana Civil Rights Law.
Under federal and Indiana state laws, employers cannot treat pregnant employees or job applicants unfairly or adversely due to pregnancy, childbirth, medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, or if the employee chooses to breastfeed. Employment law guarantees pregnant women the same employee rights given to every other employee.
To determine if you have a valid discrimination case it’s important to know if your specific situation is covered by the federal laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
What Is Considered Pregnancy Discrimination?
In general terms, pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employee is treated differently or not given the same benefits or treatment as any other employee. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on pregnancy or childbirth, including pregnancy-related medical conditions or postpartum related medical conditions. This covers all aspects of employment, including:
- Hiring or firing
- Offering promotions
- Pay and raises
- Job duties and assignments
- Training and apprenticeships
- Offering of benefits
- Approving time off or leaves of absence
- Employment guarantees upon return
What Does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act Cover?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) made it illegal for employers to treat employees unfavorably or differently based on sex. In 1978, Congress modified Title VII, adding the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) to include pregnancy discrimination as a form of sex discrimination, which falls under the broader category of employment discrimination.
The PDA states that it is illegal for an employer to:
- Ask a job applicant if she is, or plans to become, pregnant then not hire her (even if she’s the most qualified candidate) based on her answer
- Pass up a woman for a promotion because she’s pregnant or is planning to have a child
- Fire an employee who announces her pregnancy
- Refuse to make reasonable accommodations for specific work duties for women in the later stages of pregnancy
- Prevent a pregnant employee to work as long as she’s able to perform the job
- Refuse to allow leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to an eligible pregnant employee
- Not offer the same benefits provided to employees with non-pregnancy-related disabilities
- Neglect to pay a pregnant employee the same as other employees, according to guidelines set by the Equal Pay Act
How Do I Deal with Pregnancy Discrimination at Work?
Although created to protect employees, understanding federal laws on top of laws specific to the state of Indiana can get complicated. If you feel you’ve been a victim of pregnancy discrimination, the best way to deal with it is to start by consulting an employment attorney.
HKM Employment Attorneys in Indianapolis, helping employees protect themselves and their children for nearly 40 years, has the experience, knowledge, and empathy you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.