Not all forms of discrimination in the workplace are overt. However, changes in attitude or performance reviews following a pregnancy announcement can be an insidious form of discrimination, regardless of whether they are direct or indirect. It is a good idea for Minnesota residents to know the signs of pregnancy discrimination, no matter if they are currently pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Even men in the workplace should learn what pregnancy discrimination looks like, in order to keep an eye out for fellow female colleagues and speak up during offensive situations.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) outlines the full protections that are provided to pregnant women in the workplace under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). At a federal level, workplaces are not allowed to discriminate against pregnancy or childbirth, even during hiring and firing procedures. If a pregnant woman believes that her pay rate, promotions, health insurance or job assignments have been affected due to her pregnancy, then she is protected under the PDA. The Act also covers discrimination relating to harassment, temporary disability and parental leave.
In 2018, Forbes reported that a common way employers discriminate against pregnant women is through the refusal to make accommodations to the job for the benefit of the pregnant employee. This refusal can force pregnant women to quit in order to preserve not only their health but the health of the unborn child. Accommodations not only for physical requirements such as heavy lifting but also attendance or being on time can affect pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness. Pregnant women who suspect discrimination are recommended to document the unfair situations.