5 Pregnancy Rights That Did Not Exist 5 Decades Ago


Rights for pregnant women have come a long way since women mainstreamed into the workforce. Over 50 years ago, many women were often discriminated by employers because of pregnancies. Employers use to be able to harass, fire and treat expecting mothers unequally compared to their coworkers. It was not until The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was passed that mothers were finally receiving rights in the workplace. Since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act passed, women’s pregnancy rights have continued to rise. New legislative is constantly being reformed and improved in order to supply rights to demanding pregnant mothers.

The following are Five rights that have made the most impact on pregnant working mothers.   


1. A woman can not be fired because she is pregnant.

Employers have often seen as pregnancy a disability. Afraid that the women are not able to perform to their fullest capability, some employers see that it would be easier to fire a pregnant woman rather than accommodate her needs. However, with The Pregnancy Discrimination Act in place this action is illegal.


2. New mothers can pump breast milk in the workplace.

One of the newest rights that women have gained is the ability to pump breast milk in the workplace. This right is due to the Obama administration under the Affordable Care Act. According to Annalyn Kurtz, “The Affordable Care Act requires employers provide reasonable breaks to new mothers to pump breast milk for up to one year after a child's birth”.


3. A woman can not get fired if she has an abortion or is thinking of an abortion.

The choice to have an abortion is completely up to the woman. That right is preserved by The Pregnancy Discrimination Act.


4. A pregnant woman can receive special accommodations if she has a medical condition that is related to pregnancy.

Although pregnancy is not considered a disability, some women may have associated health problems with pregnancy. According to, some of these conditions can include, high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome, kidney problems, autoimmune disorders, etc. If a woman has any of these conditions or other health-related issues, the company is legally obligated to treat the woman like any other employee with a medical impairment.


5. During your pregnancy leave, your job cannot be given away.

Whether or not you have paid leave or not, a pregnant woman is still allowed to take leave. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees to take unpaid leave for up to 12 work weeks. While away on leave, the employer cannot replace you from your job.

The rights of pregnant women have evolved immensely since the 1960s. However, even with these rights, pregnant women still face discrimination in the workplace. As legislature and laws continue to change, the attitudes of employers towards pregnant women must change.

Pregnancy Discrimination at Work


The option of pregnancy should be supported in any work environment. The fact is, many women still are discriminated against based on their decision to have a child. Whether the discrimination is in the hiring process or comments in the workplace about their performance due to their pregnancy, women still face discrimination from their personal choices to have children and their abilities when pregnant.



It is against the law to not hire an individual because they are pregnant. In the same notion, an employee can not be fired for becoming pregnant. These issues are still prevalent today. In a Philadelphia-based clothing franchise, Motherhood Maternity were forced to pay over $300,000 to settle a case regarding pregnancy discrimination in their hiring process. In 2007, the company allegedly refused to hire three different qualified women because they interviewed while pregnant. It is also against the law to not hire an individual because she plans on having a child in the future.


She Can’t Work?

A woman can not be fired for being unable to perform her duties at her job while pregnant. A woman with child legally should be treated as an individual with a temporary disability. Accommodation in some manner is required such as lightened workload, disability leave or unpaid leave. The truth is that woman can work throughout their pregnancy in a healthy manner and that employers must do their best to accommodate them. An employer can not force you to take to take time off or change jobs either.



The biggest issue with pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is that it can happen on multiple levels. From the hiring process, working with your employer to manage workload, to even the social stigma within the workplace, women face a lot of judgment in their choice to get pregnant in the workforce. Many employers view it as a burden and issue of efficiency. The fact is that it is the complete opposite. It is the law to accommodate and support your employee’s decision of having a child.

If you are being faced with discrimination, there are a few steps to take to report it. Gathering evidence is hard but an important factor when reporting it. Keep records of all of your interactions regarding your pregnancy with your employer. You can start the process by setting up an appointment with an EEOC counselor.

Balancing Work as a Mother

Balancing Work as a Mother

A mother has one of the hardest jobs because she must balance raising a young child while managing their own personal career. As a mom, you must have the skill set to balance your home and work life without drowning in stress. You can become so involved with your daily routine that you do not even feel that you can manage everything - but you can. There are a few key tips to finding the time to be a good employee and an even better mom.