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Discrimination > Pregnancy

Pregnancy discrimination is defined as discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. Pregnancy discrimination can include all of the following actions by an employer:

  • refusing to hire a pregnant applicant;
  • firing or demoting a pregnant employee;
  • denying the same or a similar job to a pregnant employee when she returns from a pregnancy-related leave;
  • treating a pregnant employee differently than other temporarily disabled employees; and
  • failing to grant a male employee health insurance coverage for his wife’s pregnancy related conditions if a female employee’s husband has comprehensive health insurance coverage through the same company plan.

The federal laws which prohibit pregnancy discrimination and provide for disability and parenting leaves are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which includes the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, (see section 2000e(k) of the law for the specific language concerning pregnancy) and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Under the law, pregnancy is considered a temporary disability, as are related medical conditions such as severe morning sickness, doctor-ordered bed rest, childbirth, recovery from childbirth, and any other related medical condition. Your employer must therefore give pregnant employees the same treatment and benefits that it gives to employees with other temporary disabilities.

For more information see Pregnancy & Family Medical Leave Laws.




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