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An overview of pregnancy discrimination

It may be difficult for pregnant workers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to know if their workplace rights are being violated. Considering the current nationwide debate over reproductive rights, the issue of discrimination could be even more confusing for some. In fact, a bill in South Dakota intended to mandate reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees was recently voted down.

One of the representatives involved in the decision noted that a woman could quit if she didn't like the working conditions she was facing. However, quitting a job is not always feasible from an economic perspective. In addition to a paycheck, a pregnant woman may rely on her employer for necessary health care benefits. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to understand or prove that a worker is being unfairly treated on the basis of being pregnant.

Officially, discrimination because of pregnancy is banned under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Employers are generally required to make accommodations that ensure the safety of the worker and her baby. Managers and other employees are not allowed to harass a pregnant worker, but verbal harassment may be difficult to prove. Those who think that their rights have been violated should write down what happened and find witnesses to confirm what happened.

Individuals who believe that employers have violated the law as it relates to workplace discrimination may wish to contact an attorney. In addition to laws against discrimination against pregnant workers, employers generally cannot take actions based on an employer's race, gender or national origin. If an employee is wrongfully terminated, that person may be entitled to compensation for back pay and other damages. An attorney may use emails or witness statements to establish such a claim.

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