In Michigan, discrimination against pregnant women is one of the most insidious types of workplace treatment. Not only does it harm the health of the mother during a critical time, but it can also hurt the well-being of the baby.

Pregnancy discrimination is unfortunately common based on the number of complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In fact, there were 50,000 complaints filed in the last decade alone. This understates the extent of the problem. Most women work, and 85% of women will become mothers during the course of their careers. This presents an even bigger problem for women in frontline positions such as firefighters and those who work in factories.

There is a specific law that prevents discrimination against pregnant women. All aspects of a woman’s employment are subject to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, meaning hiring, firing and promotion decisions cannot be made differently because of anything related to the woman’s pregnancy. This also forbids hostile behaviors and rude interpersonal treatment.

One Baylor University survey documented the negative health effects of pregnancy discrimination. This can lead to postpartum depression and gestational diabetes for the mother and low birth weight and Apgar scores for the baby. Previously, researchers understood the effects on the mother but did not realize the impact on the child.

Those who have been subject to disparate treatment on the job because they were pregnant may have cause for a legal action against their employer. Employees may want to contact a workplace discrimination attorney to learn more about their legal rights and how they might start a lawsuit. They may be entitled to financial compensation for the suffering that they have endured on the job. With the help of an attorney, an employer may be held accountable.