In today's workforce, men do few things that women can't. In real life, there is one thing that women can do that men can't -- get pregnant. This one differentiation has the potential to undo all of your hard work, and not because you will soon become a mother.
Instead, the danger to your career could come from your employer. You should know that pregnancy discrimination happens often enough that the federal government passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to protect you.
Your pregnancy may or may not go as planned
Is your boss giving you grief because you need to take extra time off due to a pregnancy complication? If so, it violates the act. You have the right to the same treatment any other employee would receive if he or she were on temporary disability due to an injury or illness. Your employer should provide you with one or more of the following accommodations if needed:
- Alternative assignments
- Light duty
- Unpaid leave
- Disability leave
Other reasonable accommodations you may request could include a more comfortable chair. If your condition keeps you away from the workplace, your employer cannot penalize you for it. If your employer can make a reasonable accommodation without causing undue hardship on others or the company, you have a right to it.
Your employer cannot require any additional medical examinations or information from you unless this requirement exists for every employee on temporary disability. You may also be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act as maternity leave.
You don't need this kind of stress
If you suffer from severe or persistent harassment that creates a hostile work environment due to your pregnancy, that also violates the act. You do not have to tolerate that type of behavior. Your company may have procedures in place that you need to follow in order to file a complaint about how others treat you at work. The problem is that you may then experience retaliation as a result.
Before you take any action regarding your treatment during your pregnancy, you would benefit from obtaining information about your rights and legal options as well as your legal responsibilities to preserve any evidence you may need to support a future claim. The last thing you need while you are carrying a child is additional and unnecessary stress due to the actions and behaviors of in your workplace. It may feel as though you have no choices right now, but you do.