Federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on pregnancy protect Minnesota employees who are pregnant. Pregnancy, childbirth and medical conditions related to them cannot subject employees to unfavorable treatment in terms of hiring, pay, promotions, training or any other employment terms and conditions. Many people believe that pregnancy discrimination was only a problem in the distant past, but it still occurs today. Pregnant women who understand their rights under federal law can recognize pregnancy discrimination more easily.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cites the Pregnancy Discrimination Act as an amendment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This law states that employers must treat pregnant women the same as other job applicants or employees. Employers cannot refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant, nor can they fire her for that reason. Additionally, employers cannot deny pregnant women pay raises, job assignments, promotions, training or fringe benefits because of their pregnancy.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers must allow pregnant women to do their job for as long as they are capable of performing it. Stereotypes or assumptions surrounding pregnancy cannot influence employment decisions related to the employee’s work performance. Employers do not have to include discriminatory practices against pregnant women in their formal policies in order for these practices to be illegal. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act covers employers’ unwritten policies and practices as well.
Workplace discrimination against pregnant women was commonplace before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Since that federal law passed in 1978, the protection has provided women who want to have families more security in pursuing a career.