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6 facts to know about discrimination during pregnancy

Finding out you are pregnant is a joyous experience. You might be ready to start planning what you are going to do. Baby names, the nursery and your labor and delivery are all things you might think about. At some point, you might realize that you will need to decide how to handle your job. Before you make any decision, think about these points.

#1: You can take time off work

Things happen when you are pregnant. You can take time off work when you need to because of medical concerns. You don't have to remain off work throughout the remainder of your pregnancy unless your doctor recommends that you do so. Your employer can't require you to stay off work. You might also be covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which enables you to take time off work under certain circumstances.

#2: Discrimination is forbidden as early as the interview process

Employers who are interviewing workers can't discriminate against pregnant women. They shouldn't ask about pregnancy in the interview. They can't pass over a woman for hiring simply because she is pregnant.

#3: Pregnant women can't be offered lesser benefits

Benefits must be available to pregnant women in the same manner in which they are available to any other worker who is eligible. Employers mustn't bypass offering or providing a pregnant woman benefits on the basis of the pregnancy. This includes access to health care coverage.

#4: Doctor excuses must be handled carefully

Employers can't demand doctors' excuses, notes or permission slips from a pregnant woman unless the employer would demand the same of a person who wasn't pregnant. This includes asking a woman for permission from a doctor to return to work after an illness.

#5: You can choose when to tell your employer

You can choose when you are going to tell your employer. An employer can't require a woman to inform supervisors or anyone else of a pregnancy. Think about what accommodations you might need when you are trying to decide when to tell your employer. You would need to speak up if your doctor gives you restrictions or you are unable to do your assigned duties.

#6: You can take action

Pregnancy discrimination is a serious issue. Any pregnant woman who is a victim has the right to take action. Learn about the laws that protect you and find out how you can hold the employer accountable for discrimination.

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