Employers need to pay special attention to how they handled pregnant employees. Not to be confused with special treatment, attention to pregnancy issues will not only help avoid pregnancy discrimination at work but will also serve to foster a healthier pregnancy and work environment overall.
Pregnancy discrimination claims at work are among the fastest growing category of claims reported to the EEOC. Complaints range from being fired, demoted or treated differently as a result of a pregnancy. The main source of protection from such actions is provided by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But employers should also implement their own policies when it comes to pregnant employees in order to ensure compliance.
In reality, avoiding pregnancy discrimination at work simply requires common sense.
Today, the majority of women are working through their pregnancy and then returning to work shortly after giving birth. There are, of course, complications that may arise but the general approach should be to treat the female employee in the same manner that one would treat a temporarily disabled employee.
When it comes to health benefits, employers must provide the same amount of coverage to a pregnant single employee as they would a married one.
Another potential pregnancy discrimination issue to be aware comes before the employee is even hired: Asking interview questions relating to pregnancy or plans to get pregnant is highly illegal and could result in a lawsuit. As always, any pregnancy discrimination claims made by an employee should be taken seriously and handled promptly.