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The reality of pregnancy discrimination

When Missouri women announce their pregnancies, they may think their colleagues will be excited by their news. Many women usually do not expect to be treated differently simply because they are pregnant. Pregnancy discrimination is not uncommon in the workplace, though, and it is important for women to understand this form of discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that pregnancy discrimination covers any kind of adverse treatment a woman experiences while she is pregnant. Some women may be harassed by a client, a supervisor or a colleague and in some situations they may find that they are demoted or that their work environment becomes toxic. This kind of harassment is usually illegal. Pregnant women are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This act says that women cannot be denied a promotion or job assignment simply because they are pregnant.

Some women might develop a medical condition while they are pregnant, such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. Employers are typically required to modify a woman's work assignments or offer disability leave if they would offer these options to other employees with a temporary disability. Some companies may require a doctor's note before they allow employees to receive sick benefits. Most of time, a company may ask a pregnant woman for a doctor's note if they follow this kind of policy.

Pregnancy discrimination occurs more frequently than many women may realize. According to CNN, almost 31,000 women filed pregnancy discrimination charges between 2010 and 2015 and even more women requested but did not receive duties without physical demands or time away from work for doctor's visits. Although this phenomenon can affect women from many economic classes, it is sometimes working class women who experience the most consequences. This is because maternity leave is usually offered to 6 percent of women who have jobs with low wages.

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