Employment Pregnancy Discrimination Law and Legal Definition

Federal and state laws, which vary by state, make sure that Americans are able to have children without losing their jobs. Federal Title VII Law does not explicitly require employers to grant pregnancy leave, although it does prohibit pregnancy discrimination. However, the federal law does require employers to grant medical leaves, which are applicable to pregnant women. You must be allowed to keep working as long as you are able to do your job. If your doctor or health care provider says you are sick and unable to work during your pregnancy, you may be able to get up to 12 weeks off without pay under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

Employers have a number of responsibilities to employees who become pregnant. For instance, if a woman becomes pregnant, and with the advice of her doctor asks for a position that is less strenuous or hazardous, the employer must transfer her to another position if it has one, or can make one without being "unduly burdened." Basically, if its not too much trouble for the employer to accommodate the woman's needs, he has to do it.

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers who have at least 15 workers are not allowed to:

  • Refuse to hire a woman because of pregnancy
  • Fire or force a worker to leave because she is pregnant
  • Take away credit for previous years, accrued retirement benefits, or seniority because of maternity leave
  • Fire or refuse to hire a woman because she has an abortion