Workplace discrimination can happen to any protected party without warning, even as modern workplaces strive toward its elimination. This includes discrimination toward pregnant employees.
But exactly how does pregnancy discrimination work? And why does it happen in the first place?
Why do pregnant workers face discrimination?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses pregnancy discrimination as its own specific form of discriminatory behavior. Pregnancy discrimination often occurs due to employers holding an irrational fear that their pregnant workers will quit immediately after giving birth, or that their work quality will significantly degrade after the birth of their child.
It is illegal in many places to fire a person simply for working while pregnant, though. Because of that, many discriminatory tactics involve creating an environment so inhospitable that the pregnant worker makes the decision to quit, even if they essentially get forced into it.
Getting iced out
These “ice-out” techniques will often involve the exclusion of the pregnant person from social events. It may start small at first, like not inviting the pregnant worker to a party due to the supposed abundance of alcohol that may be present.
However, it often escalates quickly and also grows to include actual work events, too. Many pregnant employees who experienced discrimination at their workplace state that they eventually stopped getting notifications for work meetings and got left out of important planning sessions, too.
Talk of raises or promotions that were ongoing before the pregnancy may also come to a halt. Employers may even try to demote pregnant workers, furthering the potential necessity to leave the job.
It is possible to take action for compensation after experiencing any of this. Seek out legal aid to learn more.