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By Louise Herman

Despite the changing social climate, discrimination still occurs on a regular basis in workplaces. One of the most common forms of bias impacts women and expecting mothers. Though this is supposed to be an exciting time for many, pregnancy discrimination can place additional stress on those who are expecting. If you believe you faced bias by an employer, a Providence, Rhode Island sex discrimination lawyer can help you through these claims. Keep reading to learn the most common actions that occur against expecting mothers to ensure you know how to protect your rights.

What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination is a form of bias against women and mothers when they anticipate starting a family or become pregnant. This is a common form of sex discrimination.

Under federal law, employers are not permitted to discriminate against anyone based on current, past, or potential pregnancies. Similarly, companies cannot show prejudice towards those who have a medical condition relating to pregnancy, who have or have not had an abortion, or who are on birth control.

What Does It Look Like When It Occurs?

Generally, pregnancy discrimination impacts all areas of employment. This includes hiring, promoting, terminating, and interacting with pregnant women.

During the hiring process, employers are not allowed to inquire as to whether or not a woman is or plans to become pregnant. Similarly, employers are prohibited from firing an employee for becoming pregnant which may cause them to miss work.

For example, if a less qualified worker receives a promotion over a pregnant employee with a great track record because she will be out on maternity leave, this falls under discrimination. Your boss is not allowed to use your pregnancy as a reason not to promote you to a new position for which you are otherwise completely qualified and the right person for the job. Similarly, if you speak up about this discrimination, such as reporting the incident to human resources, and you are punished, this constitutes retaliation, which is also illegal in the workplace.

Do Mothers Have Rights After They Give Birth?

However, a woman’s protection does not stop immediately after she gives birth. Employers are required by law to provide a reasonable break period for nursing mothers to express milk for one year following the birth of their child. It is also essential to note that this location cannot simply be a bathroom and must be a private location where other employees and patrons cannot enter.

If you believe you were the victim of pregnancy discrimination when applying for a job or at your place of work, ensuring you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible is essential to protecting your rights. At the Herman Law Group, our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to help you navigate this claim to get the justice you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you through this process.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.