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Accommodating pregnant workers prevents workplace discrimination

One of the most thrilling times in a woman's life -- pregnancy -- can also become one of her most stressful ones. This is not necessarily because she is worried about the health of her baby or about dealing with postpartum depression; rather, she is worried about dealing with her boss. However, an employer legally must not discriminate against a worker on the basis of her pregnancy or the birth of a child in Texas, and it must accommodate her in most cases in order to avoid engaging in workplace discrimination.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is designed to prevent employers from treating pregnant workers or new moms unfairly by treating them worse than their counterparts. It thus offers essential protections for expectant mothers. However, it is worth noting that this act does have limits.

For example, if a female employee is experiencing pregnancy complications, employers are not required to accommodate these complications. The employer simply needs to give a pregnant worker the same amount of time off or the same light duties it would give to other workers who are temporarily impaired. By doing so, it indeed is acting within the scope of the law.

Employers generally do need to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, and they are not allowed to discriminate against them in the workplace in Texas. Knowing the law will help a pregnant woman who feels that she has been treated unfairly to take the proper steps to file a claim against her employer when the employer appears unreasonable. A successful workplace discrimination case may result in various remedies, including back pay or even reinstatement in a job in particular cases.

Source: Business Management Daily, Pregnancy Discrimination Act doesn't require accommodation of pregnancy complications, No author, Feb. 14, 2014

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