The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protects Your Rights at Work

Fight Workplace Discrimination The Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protects Your Rights at Work

Enjoy Building Your Family With the Protection of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Pregnancy should be a time when your interests take priority over everything else.

If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace due to your condition, you are at risk of physical or mental harm.

DoNotPay is committed to fighting all kinds of employment discrimination—here is everything you need to know about the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and its power.

How Can an Employer Discriminate Against Pregnant Employees?

Companies want their employees to be as productive as possible. The sad truth is that some companies still view pregnancy as an imposition that prevents some of their employees from operating at full efficiency for a considerable time.

Such companies can practice both active (de jure) and passive (de facto) discrimination against pregnant employees. Examples of discrimination during pregnancy can be:

Type of Discrimination


De jure (active)
  • Firing or demoting employees after they report that they are pregnant
  • Firing employees for taking medical leave due to a pregnancy-related illness
De facto (passive)

Any form of discrimination against pregnant employees is illegal under federal law, but cases only come to court sporadically. This is mainly due to the legislation in place to protect employees during and after pregnancy.

What Is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that aims to prohibit sex discrimination based on pregnancy.

It covers employees’ protection from discrimination:

  • During pregnancy
  • After childbirth
  • During illness experienced as a result of pregnancy or childbirth

The act was passed in response to a landmark case—General Electric vs. Gilbert (1976)—in which the General Electric Company was found not guilty of violating the Civil Rights Act, as the Civil Rights Act did not specifically cover pregnancy in its sex discrimination clauses.

Congress responded to this by passing the PDA in 1978. Under its terms, a pregnant employee enjoys protection against:

  1. Discrimination at work
  2. Discrimination based on medical inability to work
  3. Pregnancy or childbirth-related harassment
  4. Discriminatory granting of pregnancy, maternity, and parental leave

Discrimination at Work

A pregnant employee is protected against any discrimination, such as:

  • Non-hiring or firing due to pregnancy
  • Unnecessary changes to work responsibilities
  • Unreasonable physical demands at work
  • Enforced or involuntary leave

Discrimination Based on Medical Inability To Work

A company cannot discriminate against employees if they become temporarily unable to work due to a pregnancy or childbirth-related illness. In such cases, the employer must treat the employee the same as any other employee with a temporary disability.

Pregnancy or Childbirth-Related Harassment

Any harassment related to an employee’s pregnancy or childbirth is illegal. This includes:

Enforced or Involuntary Leave

A company cannot force a pregnant employee to take leave. Conversely, the employer must apply the same rules to pregnant employees as it would to temporarily disabled staff, meaning that any paid or unpaid leave granted to disabled employees must be offered to pregnant ones.

Employers are also not allowed to test a pregnant employee’s ability to carry out any tasks that require physical effort.

Are There Any Other Laws Relevant to Pregnancy and the Workplace?

In 1993, Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was sponsored by the Department of Labor.

Under its provisions, new parents may be entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for the newborn.

Who Enforces the PDA?

The federal agency responsible for enforcing all discrimination laws is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC oversees companies of over 15 employees and is tasked with investigating complaints of discrimination. This federal agency can commence legal action against the employer on the employee’s behalf if it finds a complaint is valid.

The EEOC deals with discrimination cases revolving around pregnancy but also:

Before you can contact a discrimination lawyer and launch a lawsuit against an employer, you need to file a complaint with the EEOC.

You will need to give details on:

  • What happened
  • When the discrimination took place
  • Who was involved
  • Who witnessed it

The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that your employer has discriminated against you and violated anti-discrimination policies, but the EEOC will be helpful and supportive. DoNotPay can help you get your complaint lodged in a few clicks!

How Can DoNotPay Help Me Deal With the EEOC?

DoNotPay can get you through the process of filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC in a flash—here’s how:

  1. Sign up for DoNotPay in your web browser
  2. Look for our Fight Workplace Discrimination feature
  3. Fill in the details of your case

DoNotPay will file your charge, and the EEOC will get back to you with a proposed way forward.

Thinking About Hiring a Lawyer? Think Again!

After you report discrimination in the workplace, you can only hope everything will turn out great. We sure hope so too, but having a backup plan doesn’t hurt. If the report with the EEOC backfires, getting a lawyer will be the next logical step. 

While you may understand the importance of professional legal help, you might be surprised by how much our virtual lawyer can do for you. Thanks to advanced AI technology, our app can assist you with:

By subscribing to DoNotPay, you won’t have to waste hundreds of dollars on lawyers for the help you can get for a few bucks!

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Our developers keep coming up with products that win against complicated bureaucracy left, right, and center. Some of the tools and services we’re most proud of help our subscribers with:

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