Discrimination in the workplace isn’t always obvious. When employers and coworkers treat you differently because of your pregnancy, they may be doing so unconsciously or even out of (misplaced) concern for you — but in many cases, such treatment comes down to discrimination. If you’re pregnant, you’ve recently had a baby, or you’re considering starting a family in the near future, it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge of your employment rights. Take a look at the following scenarios for some common warning signs of pregnancy discrimination.
1) Everyone’s a critic.
If your employers are gearing up to fire or demote you, they may start to build up justification through negative performance reviews. You may notice a suspiciously-timed increase in criticism, as well as a harsher tone and more variation in the type of negative feedback you receive. This treatment is always alarming, but is especially so if you generally enjoy good relationships with your co-workers and supervisors.. In rare cases, you may even notice complaints, backhanded or direct, about your performance specific to your pregnancy.
2) You’re feeling left out.
Red flags don’t always show in the form of direct feedback or confrontation. When it comes to a deserted email inbox or an unusually blank calendar, you may note an absence of communication more than an abundance of criticism. If you’re missing out on meetings, networking events, or other important communications that you would normally receive, you may be looking at a subtle symptom of pregnancy discrimination.
3) Your opportunities are dwindling.
You may also experience a decrease in training or education opportunities. You may have attended classes, seminars, workshops, or other training events related to your field . If you’ve recently felt sidelined from a path of steady career growth, ask your managers for clarification. Your conversation may shed light on the question of whether you’re experiencing pregnancy discrimination.
4) They won’t make accommodations.
Employers across the United States have a legal responsibility to accommodate your needs during pregnancy. You may find that you need lighter duties, more breaks, medical leave, or other accommodations, and your employers must make reasonable efforts to comply. If they deny your pregnancy-related requests, you may be looking at a big red flag for discrimination.
5) They limit your growth.
If you were previously a strong candidate for a raise or promotion, you may find that you’ve been passed over following a pregnancy announcement. In these cases, silence can speak louder than words, as enthusiastic discussions about your raise or promotion are suddenly hushed. Some women experience demotions or poor treatment designed to make them quit. If you’re not currently pregnant and don’t have children, it’s not uncommon to hear suggestions about your future at the company, hinting that your opportunities will be limited if you should choose to have kids.
If you suspect pregnancy discrimination in your workplace, start taking notes immediately. An attorney can provide you with specific guidance about the actions you can take in light of discriminatory behavior. Contact the dedicated lawyers at Crumiller, P.C., a boutique law firm representing women who face discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. We go above and beyond to uphold your employment rights and seek justice on your behalf.