Employers are prohibited from discriminating against their employees on the basis of pregnancy. It is important for pregnant workers to be familiar with the workplace protections afforded to them against pregnancy discrimination at work.
Workplace protections against pregnancy discrimination
Protections are provided to workers who are experiencing health conditions related to pregnancy including pregnancy, child birth and expressing breast milk including:
- Employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers because of pregnancy, child birth or conditions related to pregnancy or child birth;
- Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with pregnancy-related conditions. This requirement applies to employers with 6 or more employees;
- Workers who need to express breast milk are permitted to take reasonable breaks to express breast milk until their child is 18-months old; and
- New parents can access leave for pregnancy-related conditions.
Prohibited employer actions
There are several actions it is illegal for employers to take on the basis of an employee’s pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical conditions including:
- Deny employment opportunities to an applicant or employee based on the requirement to provide reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, child birth and pregnancy-related medical conditions including lactation;
- Fire, demote, discriminate or retaliate against a worker because they inquired about, requested or used a reasonable accommodation;
- Require the worker to take family leave or another type of leave if the employer could make a reasonable accommodation instead; and
- Some other types of prohibitions.
Employee rights provide a variety of different protections for workers in a variety of different situations. For that reason, it is beneficial for workers to be familiar with these important workplace protections.