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Pregnancy discrimination may affect health of baby and mother

| Jul 31, 2020 | Employment Law, Firm News

Minnesota women may experience pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. 

Forbes explains that the health of a mother and her baby may suffer when a woman faces job discrimination based on pregnancy. 

Discrimination laws protect expectant job applicants and employees

You may suffer discrimination when your pregnancy affects your hiring or firing, pay, promotion, workload or benefits. You may also experience discrimination if your supervisors or co-workers target you with rude comments or jokes. You may feel socially isolated or get undesirable shifts or assignments. 

Your health and your baby’s health may suffer

A Baylor University study looked at perceived pregnancy discrimination. This study examined women’s stress and postpartum depression. Researchers also measured babies’ health. They considered birth weight, gestational age, heart rate, reflexes, respiration and doctors’ visits. The study found that discrimination against pregnant workers may negatively affect the mother’s and baby’s health. 

Discrimination appeared to increase the risk of postpartum depression. It also contributed to lower birth weights and more frequent health care visits for babies. 

Know your rights in the workplace

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects expectant workers from discrimination. Your company’s policies may provide protection, but you may need to speak with management if you encounter inappropriate behavior. 

You can take actions to help balance the stresses of pregnancy and the workplace: 

  • Express your needs. Set firm boundaries to protect yourself from unreasonable work demands. 
  • Do not rely on sick days alone. Take “health days,” and focus on self-care. 
  • Give yourself time in the morning to start your day calmly. Build extra time between meetings. Unplug at the end of the day. 
  • Seek out information about health and work-family benefits. 

Companies may turn to their human resources department to handle discrimination allegations. Our website has information about how victims of discrimination can protect themselves and hold others accountable.