You have protections against discrimination.

You have protections against discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Pregnancy discrimination may also occur when an employer has policies or practices that exclude individuals from particular jobs because they could become pregnant. There are certain protections available if you become pregnant, give birth, or have a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. If you are temporarily unable to perform your job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, your employer must treat you in the same way other temporarily disabled workers would be treated.

Employment discrimination may also occur when an employer’s seemingly fair policies or practices have a significant negative impact on individuals affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions without demonstrating the policies or practices are job-related and consistent with business necessity. And discrimination can also occur when you and the person who discriminated against you share a protected characteristic.

Conditions resulting from pregnancy may be considered disabilities, and in such a case, your employer may have to provide you with reasonable accommodations.

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Federal law may allow you up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a new child, if you are eligible and your employer is covered under the FMLA. Additionally, some state laws may offer job protection or leave benefits for new parents. To find out more, contact your state agency or your employer’s Human Resource office.

You have the right to file a complaint or a Charge of Discrimination, participate in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit, engage in any protected equal employment opportunity (EEO) activity, or oppose harassment or discrimination without being retaliated against by your employer.

You generally have a right to protection from discrimination regardless of your immigration status, although, in some cases, immigration status may limit the remedies that you’ll be able to obtain.

What this means for you

Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you because:

  • you are pregnant,
  • you were pregnant,
  • you could become pregnant, or intend to become pregnant, or
  • you have a medical condition that is related to pregnancy.

Examples of discrimination

In general, this means that you cannot be:

  • fired,
  • rejected for a job or promotion,
  • given lesser assignments,
  • forced to take leave, or
  • otherwise disciplined

because of a pregnancy.

Need more information?
The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under Federal employment laws.