In the past few years, the most talked about type of workplace discrimination is probably disability- and race-based discrimination. However, what many may not realize is that pregnancy discrimination is actually also rather common as many do not even realize they are doing it. Often, pregnancy discrimination occurs because employers want to help their employees or protect the unborn baby.
No negative employment actions
First, any negative employment action that is taken against a pregnant employee because they are pregnant is likely illegal workplace discrimination. This can be not hiring a pregnant job seeker, demoting a pregnant person or not promoting a pregnant person because they will soon take extended time off for the birth and care of their baby.
Negative employment actions for “good” reasons
Some Los Angeles area employers demote their pregnant employees prior to them having their baby. Employers may do this without lowering their pay, and they may justify it as wanting to make the pre-birth time less stressful. However, a demotion based on pregnancy, regardless a boss’s good intentions, is illegal workplace discrimination. Other times, employers may force employees to take time off when it is not medically necessary. This is also a negative employment action. Other examples include not allowing someone to work in a certain area or with particular chemicals to protect their ability to procreate. This too could be workplace discrimination.
Good intentions are not a defense
In the eyes of the law, discrimination is discrimination, regardless of whether you discriminated based on good intentions. For comparison, some Santa Monica, California, realtors do not show parents some properties because they do not think those properties are safe for children, but this is illegal redline and familial discrimination. So too is discriminating against a pregnant person to protect that person.
Pregnancy discrimination can be complicated
Avoiding pregnancy discrimination can be complicated, which is why most companies have attorney-approved HR policies that cover pregnancy. Following these rules can hopefully, avoid illegal pregnancy discrimination. But, the key is making sure your Southern California supervisors and managers understand those policies and follow them.