Pregnancy discrimination law is an area of the law which covers situations in which women are discriminated against on the basis of their pregnancies. Many nations have a pregnancy discrimination law on the books, such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the United States. Such laws provide women with legal remedies in the event that they are discriminated against and discourage employers from discriminating against pregnant women.
The precise contents of a pregnancy discrimination law can vary, depending on the nation. As a general rule, the law forbids refusing to hire women because they are pregnant, firing women as a result of pregnancy, and failing to accommodate the needs of pregnant women. Pregnant women also have the right to access benefits equally and cannot be charged more for participating in employer health plans. Such laws are structured in a way which is intended to encourage employers to treat pregnant women equally.
In addition to covering pregnancy, some nations also include abortion in pregnancy discrimination law. In these regions, women cannot be fired or otherwise penalized for having abortions, including if they need to take off work to attend a medical appointment. Likewise, after women give birth, additional laws protect them and provide them with access to maternity leave and other benefits. Some countries also have laws which protect leave for men who are interested in taking time to bond with a new member of the family, and such laws apply both to births and adopted children.
Under the law, pregnant women must be treated like anyone else. Pregnancy discrimination law is designed to ensure that women do not put their jobs at risk by becoming pregnant. Pregnant women who lose their jobs or cannot find a new job because of pregnancy may have grounds for suit under pregnancy discrimination law. Attorneys who provide expertise in workplace discrimination can review the facts of a case to determine whether or not it is covered by pregnancy discrimination law.
One important thing to be aware of with laws which are intended to protect people from discrimination is that such laws may be limited to employers over a certain size. People who work for companies not covered under the law can experience discrimination because of pregnancy and have no legal options. Companies that are unsure about their responsibilities under the law can usually get information from pamphlets and other publications developed by government agencies.