Avoiding Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

 

How should you treat a pregnant employee or job applicant to avoid liability for pregnancy discrimination? There’s a short answer to that question that covers the entire topic: just exactly like you would an applicant or employee with any other health condition that (1) may (but doesn’t necessarily) affect their job performance and (2) necessitates their having to take some time off from work. Of course, how you may treat employees with medical conditions — whether pregnancy or anything else — is controlled by federal and state laws.

Before Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in 1978, it was fairly common for employers to terminate a woman who became pregnant, because the employer believed that she could no longer do the job effectively or that it was too dangerous for her to continue in the job or that clients or customers preferred to deal with non-pregnant employees, and other such reasons mostly based on stereotypes. It was common as well for employers…

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