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Providing accommodations for women who are pregnant

Discrimination in the workplace can affect many groups of people, particularly those who have specific needs or are in a more vulnerable situation. Among those, women who are pregnant, but still undertaking the day-to-day responsibilities of a professional job. Employers in Missouri should be making adequate efforts to accommodate pregnant women and support them in their jobs by providing the resources they need to work comfortably and safely. 

A pregnant woman may face many challenges as she continues to work throughout her pregnancy. Distractions ranging from morning sickness and the sudden onset of fatigue to the often-limiting mobility that is part of pregnancy can undoubtedly create difficulties that can lead to poor performance if not addressed appropriately.

The Society of Human Resource Management suggests that the process of modifying work responsibilities be an ongoing process that is interactive between both employer and employee. A well-written job description that clearly defines the responsibilities of a job can be highly useful in helping a pregnant woman identify the areas where modification and assistance may be needed. When accommodations are discussed, the fit should be one that provides the highest benefit to both parties.  

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, ignoring a pregnant women's needs in the workplace and resorting to discrimination because of their situation, is punishable by law. Employers should reference the Pregnancy Discrimination Act as a resource for the protocols they should put in place to help their pregnant employees. Additionally, nursing mothers may also require modifications to some aspects of their employment contract and the temporary nature of such modifications should be identified for the mutual understanding of both parties. 

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