Discrimination in the workplace against pregnant workers is prohibited by Oregon and federal law. If you are pregnant and working, you should be aware of your rights and the protections you have against pregnancy discrimination.
How workers are protected against pregnancy discrimination
Pregnant workers are protected from pregnancy discrimination in their workplaces. This means that employers with 15 or greater employees are prohibited from discriminating against a pregnant worker in hiring, firing, job assignments, work hours, promotions, pay, training and benefits, including leave and insurance. They are also prohibited from punishing employees on the basis of pregnancy.
As applied, pregnancy discrimination protections prevent employers from denying a pregnant worker a promotion because the employer, supervisor or manager assumes the employee will be less committed to her job because of her pregnancy. An employer also cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman for the same reason. A pregnant employee also cannot be temporarily assigned to a less desirable position or refused permission to attend a work conference for the same concerns.
Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination persists. According to experts, it remains a widespread problem and can have a damaging effect on workers’ careers and families. Tens of thousands of women have taken legal action against major corporations to fight pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
If you believe you are being discriminated against, there are important steps you can take including reporting the discrimination. You may also consider filing a claim or a lawsuit, depending on your situation and circumstances. Employment law resources can help employees impacted by pregnancy discrimination navigate their concerns.