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  • Writer's pictureAleezeh Hasan

Pregnancy doesn’t need to get in the way of your career

For many women in the workplace, equality is not where it needs to be.

The wage gap still exists, especially for women of color. One reason for the gender disparity is because some employers may use a pregnancy to justify different hiring practices and promotions.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, or PDA, is more than 40 years old, but even now there are still women that suffer unequal treatment because of their pregnancies.

It is still common for a woman to tell her boss she’s pregnant and then to get fired the next day. The treatment may not always be that extreme, but pregnant women may be questioned and scrutinized heavily about their actual dedication to their job.

If you are pregnant and are worried about discrimination, here are some steps you can take:

· Know your rights. Once you know you are pregnant, it would be best to investigate the specific rules within your company and to see if any of them will impact you. Under federal law, your employer cannot treat you unfairly based on your pregnancy. Depending on what type of work you do, your employer is required to make accommodations that allow you to take breaks and rest. Speak directly with your boss or supervisor and let them know that you will be needing certain accommodations and that you are aware of what rules exist in your workplace.

· Think ahead. Besides looking at the rules and laws, you should also figure out how much time you will take off and how you will cover for it. This may require you speaking to your coworkers and setting up some form of a schedule to decide who can take care of your work while you are not around.

· Take note. If you do not announce your pregnancy right away, it might be a good time to be aware of your surroundings and how the higher-ups at your company are treating you. Being alert of this and even writing it down can make it more noticeable if you feel that any of your co-workers are treating you differently after it is known that you are pregnant.

Pregnancy can be a wonderful part of a person’s life, but women still face challenges in their places of work when they do become pregnant. Even 40 years after the creation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

The PDA exists to push against these discriminatory practices and being aware of your rights can protect you from mistreatment. So, while pregnancy can be difficult, it should not come in the way of your career. Being prepared can lead to the best possible outcome for you, and your employer.

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