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Be Prepared! Know the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

By Susan Tanner

Pregnancy is hard enough as it is. Many pregnant women need or choose to work during their pregnancy. Unfortunately these women have the possible added stress of pregnancy discrimination.

Pregnancy discrimination is less of a problem in today's workplace as it has been in the past, thanks in part to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. As any pregnant woman who has looked for a job can tell you, pregnancy discrimination did not simply disappear because it was made illegal.

That it why it is very important for you to know the rights and protections guaranteed to you by the Pregnancy Discrimination act. Being informed is your best defense.


The pregnancy discrimination act is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Basically, it protects you from being treated any differently by an employer than any other non-pregnant woman.

First of all, an employer cannot refuse to hire you based on your pregnancy, as long as you are able to perform the major functions of the job to which you are applying.

Once you are hired, or if you already have a job when you become pregnant, you are protected from pregnancy discrimination in many ways. Your employer must allow you to work as long as you are able to perform your job. Your employer is not allowed to require you to take mandatory maternity leave, or to prevent you from coming back to work as soon as you'd like, after the baby's birth.

If you are temporarily unable to perform your job due to pregnancy, your employer must treat you the same as any other temporarily disabled employee by providing modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave, or leave without pay.

Health Insurance

Any health insurance provided by your employer must cover expenses for pregnancy related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. Health insurance for expenses from an abortion is not required, except in cases where your life is endangered.

Your pregnancy related expenses should be reimbursed exactly as those incurred for other medical conditions. The amount paid by the insurance provider can only be limited to the same extent as costs for other conditions. No increased or additional deductible can be imposed because of your pregnancy.


Benefits related to pregnancy cannot be limited to married employees. If your employer provides any benefits to workers on leave, they must provide the same benefits for those on leave for pregnancy related reasons. While you are pregnant, you must be treated the same as other employees for accrual of seniority, vacation calculation, pay increases, and temporary disability benefits.

Pregnancy discrimination will not go away anytime soon. Hopefully though, armed with this information, you can defend yourself from pregnancy discrimination and feel comfortable in your workplace throughout your pregnancy.

About The Author

Susan Tanner is a wife and mother of three. She is also the editor of Pregnancy-Guide is an online community for mothers to find support and valuable information. Please visit Pregnancy-Guide at


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