Common Types of Discrimination Pregnant Women May Experience in the Workplace

Laws have been put in place to protect pregnant, working women in Virginia. However, inequity is still a serious issue in the workplace. Pregnant who may be discriminated against in the workplace may be denied reasonable accommodation, fired or demoted, or forced to take time off work. Pregnancy discrimination is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). A skilled employment attorney richmond va can walk a woman through the applicable law. Read on to know how pregnant women can experience discrimination while at work:

Refusal to be Hired

Generally, employers are not allowed to make hiring decisions based on an applicant’s family status, whether they are married, have children, or plan to have them. However, a lot of employers have the perception that pregnant women and parents can’t commit fully to a job because of their children. That is why such a question may crop up in job interviews. 

Denial of Job Modifications

Pregnant women usually need to change their habits. For instance, they may have to take more trips to the restroom than before. This requires leniency in the number of bathroom breaks they are allowed. If a workplace allowed minor job modifications to accommodate a non-pregnancy-related disability but not a pregnancy-related disability, it is practicing discrimination. Some modifications that pregnant women may require include being allowed to bring a water bottle at work, avoiding lifting heavy objects, being allowed to sit occasionally at a job that requires standing, or being allowed to take time off near the end of the third trimester. A denial of important modifications to a pregnant woman’s work environment can lead to serious health problems for her and her baby. 


Pregnant women who are discriminated against in the workplace may be fired. Employers may claim that a woman can no longer perform the duties of her job. But, a pregnant woman must be treated the same as one who is temporarily injured or disabled. Thus, she must get a chance to use her vacation time or take unpaid leave as part of maternity leave instead of getting fired. 


Sometimes, a pregnant employee may experience continuous shaming because of her size, and the employer ignores it. She can be harassed by a coworker, supervisor, customer, or an upper-management team member. 


Pregnant women who file a report about pregnancy discrimination may suffer repercussions at their job. These can range from bad performance reviews to demotion, termination, or physical or verbal harassment.