Dr. Ahmad Latif is a physician, web editor and author with a special interest in workplace health promotion.

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Pregnancy discrimination involves treating women (applicants or employees) unfavorably on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. Pregnancy discrimination can include all of the following actions by an employer:

•    refusing to hire a pregnant applicant;
•    firing or demoting a pregnant employee;
•    denying the same or a similar job to a pregnant employee when she returns from a pregnancy-related leave;
•    treating a pregnant employee differently than other temporarily disabled employees; or
•    failing to grant a male employee health insurance coverage for his wife's pregnancy related conditions if a female employee's husband has comprehensive health insurance coverage through the same company plan.

Under the law, a pregnancy-related condition may be considered a temporary disability, this may include severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, and any other medical conditions. Your employer must therefore give pregnant employees the same treatment and benefits that it gives to employees with other temporary disabilities.

These are some examples of potentially illegal pregnancy discrimination:

•    During an interview, a job placement agency asks an applicant how many children she has and if she is planning to get pregnant again. The applicant says she is four months pregnant. The agency tells her to come back after she has her child and is ready to work.
•    A female employee tells her boss at work that she is pregnant. Her boss fires her after learning the news, even though she is still able to work for several more months.
•    A pregnant worker at a fast food restaurant asks her boss if she can stop lifting heavy boxes during her pregnancy. The boss says no, even though another employee did not have to lift boxes at work while recovering from surgery. The pregnant worker is forced to quit her job.
•    A pregnant worker needs to take time off to visit her doctor for prenatal care. She is docked and eventually disciplined for missing time from work, even though other workers who need ongoing medical treatment are not docked nor disciplined.


Do I have to tell my current employer I'm pregnant?

A pregnancy will eventually start to show, so you may want to notify your employer that you're pregnant as you approach that point. Prior to that point, if you do not require or anticipate any kind of leave for medical visits or pregnancy-related sickness, and are otherwise able to perform the major functions of your job, you may choose not to share that information with your employer.

You may need to notify your employer if you are going to take leave. You can consult with your supervisor, human resources department, company handbook, or your union to determine your company's policies about using sick leave, short-term disability leave, or FMLA leave (if you are eligible). Each type of leave may have different advance notification requirements that you may be required to follow. If advance notification is required in order to utilize leave, you should comply with the notification requirements even though it requires you to disclose your pregnancy.

From: www.workplacefairness.org


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