It is not uncommon for women in the work force in Minnesota and other states across the nation to get pregnant. Whether they are seeking employment or are currently employed, pregnant women should understand their rights and how the Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids discrimination based on their pregnancy and health conditions related to their pregnancy. If a pregnant woman believes that she has been mistreated or discriminated against due to her pregnancy, she should understand that she has options regarding this violation of her civil rights.
Now that the celebrations have died down a bit after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, many people in Minnesota are starting to wonder what this decision will mean. Clearly, it will mean that married same-sex couples in Minnesota cannot be denied the same federal benefits that go to heterosexual married couples. Less clear is how the ruling will affect the laws that are supposed to prohibit employment discrimination.
Under Minnesota and federal laws, when an employee becomes pregnant, her employer generally must make reasonable accommodations to her work duties to allow her to keep working as long as she wants to during the pregnancy. Reasonable accommodations could include getting her a chair, reassigning her to a different department or otherwise modifying her duties. The general idea is that a woman shouldn't be forced to choose between keeping her job and keeping her baby.
Minnesota workers are protected by state and federal laws against discrimination at work when they get pregnant. Nonetheless, a new national study finds that American employers are routinely discriminating against workers who become pregnant, refusing to accommodate their requests for reasonable accommodations, forcing them to take unpaid leave before they are ready, or just outright firing them.