The pressures of becoming a mother, combined with the pressures of having an employer who may be illegally discriminating against you, can put significant and undue levels of stress on an expectant mother.
Fortunately, safeguards are in place to protect expectant mothers. An employer may be liable for damages if it uses a woman’s pregnancy, childbirth, or the potential/actual use of maternity leave as a reason for any adverse job action.
If you feel you are being discriminated against due to your pregnancy, you should contact a pregnancy discrimination attorney in Boston immediately to discuss your options and your rights under the law.
Protections Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act
In 1978, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which was an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It’s important to know what this landmark piece of legislation covers and what it does not.
- The PDA prohibits discrimination in all parts of employment for prospective or currently pregnant women. This includes hiring, firing, promotions, raises, and all other forms of employment benefits. An employer cannot create a policy that limits or prevents women from doing jobs simply because they are fertile or pregnant.
- Like the rest of Title VII, the PDA only covers workplaces that have 15 or more employees. If you work for an employer with less than 15 employees, you should check to see what state laws may apply to covering the rights of pregnant women in Massachusetts.
- You cannot be fired if you file a complaint against your employer if you believe they have violated provisions of the PDA.
- If you become pregnant or go on maternity leave, your employer must hold your job open for an equal amount of time that the position would be left open for another employee who is on leave for another type of sickness or disability.
- You are also not required to tell a potential or current employer you are pregnant. In addition, an employer cannot refuse to hire you because you are pregnant as long as you can perform the requirements of the job.
- You may not be treated differently at work if you are pregnant and unmarried. With a few exceptions, pregnancy-related benefits cannot be limited to married employees only.