Being pregnant has its own challenges, but the difficulties can be exacerbated when your employer uses your condition to discriminate against you. You’d think that with state and federal protections, as well as an increased public awareness of workplace discrimination, this behavior would be rare, but it’s far more common than many people realize.
And the ramifications of discrimination can be far-reaching. You may find yourself uncomfortable and even fearful at your job on a daily basis, worried that reporting the issue may result in retaliation. And if you do make a complaint, you might be concerned that you’ll end up facing reduced hours, changed assignments, demotion, reduced pay or even termination. This is why it’s critical to know how to identify pregnancy discrimination and bring it to a stop in a way that protects your interests.
Spotting signs of pregnancy discrimination
One reason why people misperceive the frequency with which this type of discrimination occurs is because they simply shrug off discriminatory practices as inane behavior. But discriminatory practices can lead to adverse employment actions, including demotion, termination or being passed over for a job or promotion altogether.
So, how do you identify signs of pregnancy discrimination? Here are some actions to keep an eye out for:
- You’re asked about your pregnancy during an interview
- You’re asked about your desire to have children either during an interview or shortly after getting married while employed
- You’re subjected to jokes about not being able to keep up with your work because you’re pregnant
- You receive incessant questioning about whether you’re okay on account of your pregnant status
- Your employer has an unwillingness to provide reasonable accommodations when requested
- Your job duties suddenly change, likely on account of your pregnant status
Remember, though, that to file a workplace discrimination claim against your employer, you’re going to have to show that you suffered some sort of adverse employment decision because of your status.
So how do you gather evidence to support legal action?
This is a good question. You might want to start by keeping a journal of every discriminatory action taken against you. Be sure to write down exactly what happened as well as details such as the location, when it occurred, and who witnessed it.
You might also want to talk to your co-workers to see if they’d be able to back up your claim. You could be surprised to find that discriminatory practices are more common at your place of employment than you think.
Also, make sure that you’re keeping any record of positive work performance. After all, your employer is probably going to claim that any adverse employment action taken against you is justified due to poor performance or attendance issues. You’ll want to be prepared to counter those claims.
If you think that you need more information from an employer to gauge whether discrimination has occurred, your attorney may be able to help you gain access to internal records. You can also depose key individuals who may be able to give you additional information that is helpful to your claim.
Take action to protect your rights
Although you have a lot of rights as a protected worker, the onus is going to be on you to ensure that those rights are protected in your place of employment. That may mean taking legal action when warranted.
If you’d like an assessment of your case and learn what your next steps should be in pursuing accountability for the discrimination to which you’ve been subjected, you may want to reach out to an experienced law firm to discuss the matter further.