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Being a mom is already hard enough. Unfortunately, many working mothers find that their employers make it even more difficult by discriminating against them because they have children. In fact, full-time working moms are paid 26% less on average than full-time working dads.

That’s a clear sign that discrimination is at hand. However, addressing the issue under current laws is more complicated than it might seem. While California has some of the strongest worker protections in the country, they aren’t perfect. Here’s what you need to know about your rights as a working mother and when your employer’s actions cross the line into illegal discrimination.

Are Parents a Protected Class?

California residents are protected by both the federal Civil Rights Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). These laws define protected characteristics employers may not use to discriminate against workers. FEHA is more comprehensive than the Civil Rights Act and names the following protected classes:

  • Race, color
  • Ancestry, national origin
  • Religion, creed
  • Age (40 and over)
  • Disability, mental and physical
  • Sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Medical condition
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status
  • Military or veteran status

Being a mother is not itself a protected characteristic. However, gender, pregnancy and labor, marital status, and sexual orientation are. These characteristics often overlap with parenthood, so many situations in which a mother faces discrimination may also be due to their membership in a protected class. 

When Does Discrimination Against Parents Cross the Line?

Since California is an at-will employment state, employers may technically hire, fire, and promote or demote workers for almost any reason, including whether someone has kids. However, they cannot make these decisions based on protected characteristics. 

That is an important distinction. An employer can choose not to promote someone because they have children and are concerned they will not have time to do the job. It has to make this decision consistently, though, instead of giving people different opportunities along the lines of gender, marital status, or ability to become pregnant. Here’s how your employer’s behavior can cross the line and become illegal:


Women earn 83% of what men do when looking at people with full-time employment. So why does the gap expand when looking at parents? It’s because mothers earn less than childless women, while fathers make more than childless men. In other words, employers appear to penalize women who become parents while rewarding men. 

The root of the issue appears to be twofold. First, employers may have negative biases associated with mothers, assuming they prioritize childcare over their work performance. Second, many employers seem to have positive biases toward fathers, assuming they are more reliable and dedicated to their jobs. As a result, women receive fewer opportunities while men are given more. 

If this occurs within your company, it is a blatant form of discrimination. Your employer is treating people differently based on sex, barring women from receiving equal opportunities for raises and promotions granted to men. 


California explicitly defines pregnancy and childbirth as protected medical conditions. They are treated similarly to disabilities. 

Under FEHA, employers must grant pregnant workers reasonable accommodations such as altered shift lengths and schedules, stools, or modified duties for the duration of the pregnancy as long as it will not cause “undue hardship.” Furthermore, employers must grant eligible workers up to four months of pregnancy disability leave in addition to the twelve weeks of leave guaranteed under the CFRA. 

Your employer can require a doctor’s note regarding any accommodations or leave you request. However, it cannot deny your request as long as you provide a valid medical reason. Failing to do so, or retaliating against you for your request, is considered discriminatory. 

Protected Leave

Protected characteristics are the only grounds for discrimination claims in California. However, there are other types of protected activities employers must respect: namely, protected leave

California’s Family Rights Act (CFRA) guarantees up to 12 weeks of protected unpaid leave to eligible workers to care for themselves or others. Similarly, California Labor Code Section 230.8 permits eligible employees up to 40 hours of protected unpaid lead for school activities. 

If a parent requests or takes time off under these laws and their employer punishes them, that is unlawful. While it is not technically considered discrimination, it is considered retaliation and a violation of the worker’s rights directly connected to their status as a parent. 

What to Do If You Face Unlawful Workplace Discrimination

While California’s worker protection laws are strong, they do not prevent employers from discriminating against you. Instead, they give you the tools to fight back against discriminatory behavior. 

If you have experienced workplace discrimination for being a mother, it is your responsibility to take a stand. Here’s what you can do about retaliatory or discriminatory actions in the workplace:

  • Document the problems: Most types of discrimination result from ongoing behaviors and attitudes within a company. Collect evidence of discriminatory actions, such as emails from a manager complaining about your request for unpaid leave or performance reviews that negatively mention your status as a parent.
  • Talk to your colleagues: If you face discrimination, your coworkers likely do as well. Talk to them about pay, opportunities, and promotions to learn more about your employer’s decision-making. 
  • Report the issue to HR if possible: If you feel safe doing so, report discriminatory behavior to HR. Ideally, the department will fix the problem. If not, your report begins a paper trail documenting your concerns.
  • Consult with an experienced employment attorney: As with any discrimination, you should discuss your case with a dedicated California employment lawyer before taking legal action. Your lawyer will advise you on whether you have a claim and represent you in court if necessary. 

Don’t let your employer make motherhood even harder. If you’re in a discriminatory workplace, you can get help from Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP. Our experienced attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf and ensure your rights are protected. Learn more about how we can help by reaching out to our San Francisco employment law firm for mothers today.

It’s no surprise that pregnant people struggle to continue to work in the US. However, the extent of that struggle isn’t always obvious before someone becomes pregnant themselves. According to a recent survey by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), one in every five working mothers reports experiencing discrimination in the workplace because of their pregnancy. 

The survey, performed in February 2022, was focused on self-reported experiences of discrimination among pregnant people. It covered the experiences and concerns of pregnant working people and their partners before and during their pregnancies. From its sample of 2200 adults, the BPC identified several concerning trends regarding pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. 

According to the survey result, pregnant people may be more likely to experience discriminatory behavior at work now than they were a few decades ago. An alternate interpretation of the data may be that expectant parents are more likely to notice this behavior than they were in the past. 

Either way, the BPC’s survey highlights the continued struggles facing prospective parents in the workforce. Below, we break down the most concerning statistics highlighted in the BPC report, why discrimination against pregnant workers may be rising, and methods of preventing or fighting against it. 

Concerning Statistics Regarding Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination

The BPC’s survey was performed to determine the extent of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and the groups who struggle with it most. The results were discouraging: 20% of all people who self-identified as mothers reported that they had experienced this discrimination firsthand. 

8% of all women and 10% of currently employed women had experienced the same. Contrary to expectations, though, self-reported experiences of pregnancy discrimination increased as the age of respondents decreased. 13% of Millennial women reported facing discriminatory behavior because they were pregnant, while only 9% of Gen X and 5% of Baby Boomers reported the same. However

The survey also asked several other questions:

  • 12% of all adults and 20% of parents have witnessed workplace discrimination against pregnant people.
  • 21% of mothers report being scared to tell their employers about a pregnancy due to fears of discrimination or retaliation.
  • Only 4% of all Baby Boomer women report being afraid to tell their employers about a pregnancy, while 15% of Millennial women have been. 
  • 23% of fathers report that their partners were discriminated against at work for being pregnant. 

One survey is not enough to prove that pregnancy discrimination is rising. However, analyses of federal court dockets have highlighted that claims regarding discriminatory actions against pregnant people are on the rise. Even if actual discriminatory and retaliatory actions aren’t increasing, it’s clear that awareness of the problem is. 

Why Pregnancy Discrimination Is Becoming More Visible

It seems unlikely that discrimination against pregnant people is increasing as dramatically as the BPC study suggests. After all, laws like the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provide workers with legal protections if employers attempt to fire, demote, cut pay, or cut hours because they are pregnant. Furthermore, some employers have begun offering pregnant employers additional parental leave and other benefits to retain talent. So why are more people reporting seeing or experiencing it?

The answer may be twofold. First, social expectations have changed for the better. Thirty or forty years ago, when most Baby Boomers first had children, it was still heavily engrained in the culture that women left the workforce when they had kids. Women who worked during this time may not have noticed discrimination or feared telling their employer because they knew they would leave after getting pregnant. 

That’s no longer the case today. The federal Department of Labor (DOL) reported in 2018 that 62.0% of mothers with children under 3 work. While this is still significantly lower than the participation rate of fathers, it is nearly double the rate in 1975, when only 34.3% of mothers with young kids worked. As people stay in the workforce during and after pregnancies more frequently, they are less likely to accept discriminatory behavior from their employers. 

The other cause is visibility. As more people remain employed after becoming pregnant, opportunities to experience discrimination rise. It seems likely that the likelihood of experiencing discriminatory behavior may be stable or even falling, but more potential victims are willing to speak out and hold their employers accountable. 

Taking a Stand Against Unfair Treatment of Pregnant Workers

The last thing a prospective parent needs is the stress of their employer discriminating against them for starting a family. People who face discriminatory or retaliatory behavior at work because they are pregnant can stand up for their rights to fair employment. 

  • Know your rights. California has some of the best protections for pregnant workers in the country. Know your rights so you can spot when they’re being violated.
  • Document the problems you face. If you encounter issues like having requests for accommodations denied, your hours cut, or otherwise being penalized for your pregnancy, carefully document each incident. Save communications, old work schedules or pay stubs, and employee reviews to demonstrate that the behavior is discriminatory and not based on your performance.
  • File an official complaint. If your employer has an HR department, it may be worthwhile to submit an official complaint to start a paper trail within the organization. 
  • Consult with a skilled pregnancy discrimination attorney. If you are concerned about your job should you file a complaint, or if your employer has disregarded your concerns, it’s time to talk to a lawyer about legal action. 

At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, our attorneys are dedicated to helping California workers with families. We have decades of experience representing employees who have suffered from pregnancy discrimination around the state. We are available to help you take a stand against your employer’s unjust treatment of pregnant workers. Learn more about how we can protect your rights by scheduling your consultation today. 

Congress has spent several months working on an omnibus spending package to cover the following year. The $1.7 trillion package significantly boosts spending on issues like child care and worker protections. Critically, it included two bills specifically intended to provide pregnant and nursing workers with more support: the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers (PUMP) Act and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which were included with bipartisan support. 

These two acts significantly improve the rights of workers who are or have recently been pregnant nationwide. As federal laws, they apply to a wide variety of employers in every state, California included. Here’s what you need to know about the bills, how they compare to California laws, and what you can do to defend your new rights as a pregnant employee. 

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

The PWFA is one of the broadest federal protections for workers enacted in years. The PWFA provides workplace protections to pregnant workers nationwide. Inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the PWFA requires all employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.

According to the PWFA, covered employers must “make reasonable accommodations for employees and job applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, enabling them to continue working while maintaining a healthy pregnancy.”

This is a significant step forward for much of the nation. Previously, there were no federal protections for pregnant workers with health concerns. Under the PWFA, workers can request accommodations for the duration of their pregnancy to ensure that they remain healthy while carrying it to term. 

However, California workers already receive all of the protections above. The state has classified pregnancy-related medical conditions as disabilities eligible for accommodations under FEHA. Workers who experience medical conditions that make doing their jobs more difficult are permitted to request reasonable accommodations such as altered schedules, modified duties, time off for medical appointments, and transfers to less strenuous roles. 

However, this does not mean that the PWFA is not useful for California employees. It grants protections to employees who work for wide-reaching businesses that may not have five employees in California but have more than 15 workers nationwide. It also provides protections at the federal level for employees who may not qualify under California’s laws due to residency. 

The PUMP Act

Nursing employees have been protected under federal law since 2010 when the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act was first passed. This bill granted covered employees rights such as:

  • Reasonable break time to pump breastmilk
  • Access to private, non-bathroom spaces in which to take lactation breaks

However, the original bill only covered about three in four breastfeeding employees. It excluded most exempt (salaried) workers, allowing their employers to continue requiring them to work without breaks. Unfortunately, exempt positions frequently pay better and offer more benefits than hourly roles. This means that the Break Time bill may have contributed to pushing mothers out of higher-earning roles.

The PUMP Act is intended to change this. This law is based on California’s pre-existing Labor Code to the extent that it provides almost identical rights. It expands coverage to all employees, with exemptions for airlines, railways, and small businesses who experience hardship meeting the requirements of private spaces. It also extends coverage to the first year of the child’s life, allowing nursing parents to continue breastfeeding for twelve months without risking retaliation. 

This is important for both parents and children. Breastfeeding is less expensive than formula, so providing employees with protection to pump can assist them with the costs associated with newborns. It also offers new parents greater flexibility when returning to work since they do not need to worry about risking their roles as exempt employees if they need to take time to pump. Finally, it may provide better outcomes for the children themselves, as breastfeeding may be linked to more robust immune systems and healthier babies. 

Defending Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee

The PUMP Act and the PWFA are critical steps to protect workers who can become pregnant. They demonstrate that federal legislators have begun to pay attention to the needs of parents. However, the new legislation does not mean that all companies will automatically comply. The laws give you the right to take legal action if you face employment discrimination for being pregnant or breastfeeding; it is up to you to take action. 

The process is more straightforward than you may think. You can make the most of California protections for pregnant workers by:

  • Documenting the discrimination. Keep records of when you face discrimination, such as having your request for accommodations denied, having your hours cut, or being fired. 
  • Talking to an employment law attorney. An experienced lawyer will help you determine if you have a case and guide you through protecting your rights. 
  • Filing a complaint with your employer. Your lawyer may recommend that you file a complaint with HR to document your complaint. This may be enough to resolve the problem if it is simply a lack of awareness. 
  • Notifying the California Civil Rights Department. If a complaint doesn’t solve the issue, you can inform the state about the discrimination.
  • Taking legal action. After notifying the necessary parties, your attorney will help you take legal action to protect your right to work while pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Make the Most of California Pregnancy Protections

The last time you want to lose employment is when you’re preparing for or welcoming a new child into your home. Today, both state and federal pregnancy protections are in place to help California workers maintain their jobs throughout their pregnancies. At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of expectant and new mothers in the workplace. We pride ourselves on providing skilled legal representation to clients like you who need to defend their rights. Learn more about how we can help you protect your right to fair employment while pregnant by scheduling your consultation today.

Pregnancy is an emotionally and physically vulnerable time in your life. It shouldn’t be a financially vulnerable one, too. In California, multiple laws protect pregnant people from discrimination by their employers. These laws guarantee specific rights before, during, and after your pregnancy to ensure you are treated fairly and don’t lose your job just because you’re having a child.

The best way to exercise these rights is to understand them. Here’s what you need to know about the rights of pregnant workers in California, what laws protect you, and how to tell if your rights have been violated. 

California Laws Protecting Pregnant Employees

California is one of the best states in the country for expecting parents. Pregnant people are protected by federal laws such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). They are also covered by multiple state laws that provide more details on what employers must do to accommodate pregnancies. These laws include:

Anti-Discrimination Laws

The federal PDA specifically prohibits discrimination against workers because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medication conditions. Under this law, employers with 15 or more employees cannot take any adverse employment action against workers because of pregnancies or related issues. They must treat these workers the same as non-pregnant employees.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) reinforces these protections. The bill applies anti-discrimination requirements to companies with five or more employees, covering significantly more workers than the federal bill. 

Reasonable Accommodations 

FEHA also mandates that covered companies provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodations during and after pregnancy. If someone is disabled because they are pregnant, that disability must be treated like any other impairment. Employers must provide accommodations that enable the person to continue to perform their duties, so long as the modifications don’t create an undue hardship or pose a direct threat to the workplace.

Accommodations can include changes such as:

  • Changing your work schedule to allow you to come in later after morning sickness has passed
  • Relocating your work area away from strong smells that may make you nauseous
  • Adjusting your duties to let you sit down more frequently
  • Providing aid devices such as a more supportive chair to make work less uncomfortable

Pregnancy Disability Leave

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every twelve months due to pregnancy or childbirth. In addition, California has multiple state laws protecting the rights of workers to take time off for pregnancy-related reasons, including:

  • Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL): If you are disabled by being pregnant, this law entitles you to up to four months of disability leave per pregnancy or the maximum amount of time off your employer provides for other disabilities. 
  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA): Under the CFRA, you have the right to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for serious health events, including pregnancy and childbirth.

You’re eligible for leave under the CFRA if:

  • Your employer has five or more employees, or you work for a public agency
  • You’ve worked there for at least twelve months
  • You’ve worked 1250 hours there during those 12 months

In addition, FEHA requires employers to offer you a “reasonable” amount of leave as an accommodation for disabilities caused by your pregnancy. 

New Parent Leave

The demands of pregnancy don’t end with the delivery of your child. You also deserve time to recover from labor and bond with your new baby. California laws grant you this time under the CFRA. Under this bill, parents of new children can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave specifically to bond with a new child. This is true regardless of gender, but it is particularly useful if you’re pregnant.

It’s important to note that CFRA leave can only be used once in a 12-month period. You are only guaranteed 12 weeks of leave total out of every twelve months. If you have multiple qualifying events, you can only take leave if you have not yet taken 12 weeks of leave in the last year.

Lactation Breaks

The California Labor Code provides specific protections for lactating people after childbirth. Your employer must provide you with the necessary breaks to allow you to pump or breastfeed. Companies may count lactation breaks as regular breaks but cannot prevent you from taking additional breaks to pump if necessary. They cannot demand a medical note regarding your need to pump. They must also provide a safe and sanitary room other than a bathroom where you can pump. Employers are not required to pay lactating workers for these additional breaks.

How to Tell If Your Employer Violated Your Rights During Your Pregnancy

Despite the laws listed above, it’s all too common for pregnant people to face discrimination and unfair treatment in the workplace. Common examples of employer pregnancy discrimination include:

  • Refusing to hire someone due to current or potential future pregnancies.
  • Failing to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant people.
  • Penalizing someone because of pregnancy-related medical conditions.
  • Refusing requests for legally mandated time off due to pregnancy-related conditions.
  • Failing to accommodate anyone who needs to perform breastfeeding or pumping activities.

If any of these situations sound familiar, your employer may be violating your rights. 

Standing Up for Your Rights as an Employee

The last thing you should have to worry about as an expecting or new parent is discrimination. If your employer is discriminating against you because of a pregnancy, get help. At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, our experienced employment law attorneys are prepared to advocate for you in your discrimination case. 

Your needs are our top priority. We use our in-depth understanding of state and federal employment laws to help you take a stand against workplace discrimination and achieve the best possible results in your case. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about how we can support you during your pregnancy discrimination case. 

For decades, business owners in California and elsewhere have known that sex sells. For that reason, many entertainment executives, such as bar and club owners, often require members of their staff to wear skin-tight uniforms. Even under ideal circumstances, these skimpy uniforms can be uncomfortable to wear.

Putting on a tight uniform is not likely to harm your unborn baby. According to the Cleveland Clinic, though, wearing tight clothing during your pregnancy can exacerbate your heartburn, make normal swelling more painful and even increase your chances of developing certain infections.

You should not have to worry about losing your job

You certainly have some well-founded reasons for wanting to wear something more comfortable to work during your pregnancy. Your manager may not have much sympathy, however. Still, you should not have to worry about losing your job because you cannot don your normal work attire.

Remember, simply because your body is going through some extreme changes does not mean you cannot perform your job duties. If your employer wants to terminate your employment because of a pregnancy-related reason, you may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination.

California has broad protections for pregnant workers

As you probably know, entertainment industry managers sometimes push the limits of the law as far as they can. Nevertheless, you do not have to stand idly by while your manager or anyone else discriminates against you. Because California affords broad protections to pregnant workers, you likely have some immediate options for recourse.

Ultimately, rather than wondering if your job is in jeopardy at a time when you most need it, you should explore all available opportunities for stopping your boss’s discriminatory actions.

As you continue to work while pregnant, you may notice people around you treating you differently.

In some cases, the negative impact this reaction has may not seem apparent at first. Learning more about the signs of pregnancy discrimination can help you if you are struggling at work.

Less regular inclusion

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, your bosses may try to exclude you from possible promotions after you become pregnant. They may not send you group emails that you got before or you may have a new schedule of reduced hours, which can leave you at a disadvantage.

You may need accommodations, such as getting different kinds of assignments than usual or not having to lift items of a certain weight. This does not mean your bosses should exclude you from the workplace or possible promotions.

Sudden change in promotion schedule

Your bosses may also fail to continue with the interview process for a promotion you were in the running for before telling them about your pregnancy. If your employer previously stated that you met all the qualifications and now says that you are not able to continue the process, then this may be due to your pregnancy.

Some employers may assume that pregnant women will leave the workplace, which can lead to a hesitancy to promote them.

Hesitancy to allow time off

While you may need to go to medical appointments and other pregnancy-related visits, your employer may try to discourage you from taking time off. This kind of restriction can make it feel like you have to choose between seeking medical care for your pregnancy and keeping your job.

Staying aware of these subtle signs can help you if you notice pregnancy discrimination occurring while at work.

When your California employer maintains a workforce of 15 or more people, that employer has a legal obligation to comply with the guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that if you work for such an employer, you have certain protections available to you if you need special accommodations due to pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition.

Per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, part of the ADA dictates that your employer must make “reasonable accommodations” for you if you require them due to your pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition. What does this mean, and what sorts of accommodations might fall under this umbrella?

Understanding reasonable accommodations

A reasonable accommodation is a change within your workplace that your employer makes to make it easier for you to perform your job. A reasonable accommodation may also be something your employer does to ensure that you receive equal benefits and privileges while pregnant, or while experiencing something related to pregnancy.

Understanding what constitutes reasonable accommodations

Your employer may have to grant you a reasonable accommodation if you need lighter duties due to your pregnancy. For example, if heavy lifting is a part of your job, your employer may need to modify your duties until heavy lifting no longer poses a threat to you or your baby. Your employer may also have to give you more frequent breaks or change your hours or schedule if you ask him or her to do so.

Often, employment disputes arise over what types of requested accommodations are, in fact, “reasonable.” Typically, the burden of proving that an accommodation is not reasonable falls on the employer.

If you are pregnant and work in a highly competitive industry you may worry that your position will go to another employee while you take time off to care for your newborn.

Here is what you should know about employers’ obligations to women who take family leave after giving birth.

Do employers have to give employees coming back from family leave the same position?

Though many employers are legally obligated to give employees returning from maternity leave the same or a similar job, there are some exceptions. For example, if there is a legitimate business reason for letting an employee go, such as mass layoffs or corporate restructuring, your company may not have to grant you the position you previously held.

What do you do if you believe you experienced discrimination as a result of your pregnancy?

If you believe your employer discriminated against you because of pregnancy your first course of action to resolve the issue should include attempting to resolve the matter internally.  This could involve discussions with your manager or the human resources department if the company has one.

You have up to one year to file a complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. In instances when DFEH is unable to resolve the issue, the organization issues a right to sue letter and sends it to the employee giving them one year from that date to sue the employer.

Whether you can take legal action against your employer for pregnancy discrimination is not a black and white issue. Numerous factors come into play, but ensure you take action swiftly to avoid missing the deadlines.

There are no rules that govern the right time to tell your boss that you are pregnant. Obviously, you have to tell him or her eventually, but the timing is up to you.

Some women want to wait until they are through the first trimester before sharing the news, while others want to get it out in the open right away. If you are thinking about notifying your employer earlier, you should know the pros and cons.


According to CNN, informing your boss of your pregnancy early on allows you to start having the conversation about plans for your maternity leave and whatever other accommodations may be necessary. Having the plans in place well before the time comes can help give both you and your boss peace of mind.

Sharing news of your pregnancy early on can help build trust with your boss and your co-workers. While the timing of the disclosure is your decision, some may feel hurt that you did not come to them with the news sooner, as though you were hiding something. On the other hand, if you notify your boss and co-workers before you “have to,” they may appreciate your transparency.


If the worst should happen and you have a miscarriage, it can be a painful experience both physically and emotionally. If you do not feel that you can have that discussion with your boss, you may want to wait until after the first trimester to inform your boss of your pregnancy.

On the other hand, if your boss knows about your pregnancy, he or she may be more sympathetic if you tell him or her about your miscarriage in the event of that worst-case scenario. Ultimately, when you notify your boss depends on what you feel comfortable with.

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.

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