What to do if You are Pregnant and Facing Discrimination at Work
I recorded a video earlier that you may see on our YouTube site, in which I talk to you about what you should do first if you are pregnant and at work and you think you’re being discriminated against. And what I said was that you should report this to Human Resources or to your direct supervisor, so you could have protection under anti-retaliation law. And that is great and that’s good advice, if I do say so myself, but actually, the first thing that you should do is tell Human Resources or your boss that you’re pregnant.
Now, it may be, depending on where you are in the pregnancy, pretty darn obvious that you’re pregnant. But it’s possible that you could be in a phase where you haven’t formally told anyone in your office that you’re pregnant, or at least anybody with decision-making authority, like in Human Resources or your boss, but people suspect. Perhaps you’re starting to show, or perhaps others, maybe your friends at work, have talked. This can be a dangerous situation for you to be in, in that you could get fired or demoted or something happened to you at work, that would be…and it could be because you’re pregnant, because your boss found out, doesn’t like the idea of having a pregnant woman, thinks you’re gonna leave anyway after you come back after having the baby, and so they wanna get rid of you now, but there’s nothing to show that your boss actually knows that you’re pregnant.
This is difficult territory to be in, for if you’re going to try to file a charge or protect your rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, because you have to be able to show, as one might imagine, that the action, whatever happened, you’re fired, you were demoted, was because you were pregnant, common sense would tell you, you can’t show that unless you can prove that your boss or Human Resources knew that you were pregnant. That’s why it’s better to tell earlier rather than later. Do it in writing. Send a letter to HR, send a nice note to your boss, something that, you know…and God forbid, maybe nothing will happen, but should something happen to you later at work, if you’re fired, you’ll be able to point to that and say, “Of course, they knew I was pregnant because I told them.”
So, contrary to my earlier advice, the very first thing that you should do, if you find yourself pregnant at work and think you’re being discriminated against, is to tell them that you are, in fact, pregnant. I wish you the best of luck.