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Employers have legal obligation to treat pregnant people fairly

Many people in California go to work to support their families, but a person's pregnancy could result in discrimination at work. Specific laws that protect workers from this form of discrimination include the Americans with Disability Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family Medical Leave Act. Although these acts do not apply to everyone in all situations, they do form a framework that grants some rights to parents and expecting parents in regards to hiring, firing, demoting or promoting.

In the view of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers should train managers and supervisors to follow these laws. Decision makers must take care to avoid making choices based solely on pregnancy. Employers admittedly face a complex process when trying to avoid claims of pregnancy discrimination. Knowing which law could apply to a specific case can be challenging. For example, the ADA does not recognize pregnancy as a disability, but the act does acknowledge some pregnancy complications as disabilities. Eligibility requirements for the ADA and FMLA differ, but a person who does not qualify under one law might legally qualify for a leave under another law.

Pregnancy discrimination can take several forms and include prejudice against employees for simply being parent, currently expecting a child or trying to conceive. Fathers might even face discrimination in some cases.

A person troubled by workplace discrimination might suffer financial consequences due to denial of job, demotion, lower pay or job loss. Advice from an attorney might allow a person to pursue damages if an employer's negative treatment was based on the person's age, disability, sex, race, religion or national origin. After organizing the evidence and citing the violated laws, an attorney may be able to prepare a formal complaint to the employer. In some cases, legal representation might lead to filing a lawsuit.

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