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Pregnant workers and understanding rights against discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination can occur when an employer treats a pregnant employee unfavorably, such as denying them a job or promotion. There is also an expectation of reasonable accommodations. As a pregnant worker in Texas, knowing your rights under employment law is essential.

Protections under Texas employment law

Pregnancy discrimination violates federal and state anti-discrimination employment law. Texas also has state-level protections, such as the Texas Labor Code and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

Employers in Texas must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, such as more frequent restroom or water breaks or modifications to their job duties. Employers must also hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence for a time equal to that for jobs for employees on disability or medical leave. Additionally, employers cannot retaliate against an employee for complaining about pregnancy discrimination or participating in an investigation.

Signs of pregnancy discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination can take many forms and is not always easy to recognize. However, some common signs of pregnancy discrimination include the following:

  • an employer denying a promotion
  • the employee being denied a training opportunity
  • the employer excluding the employee from work events or meetings
  • increasing scrutiny or criticism from supervisors

Further signs of possible discrimination could be an employer taking adverse employment actions due to pregnancy or childbirth such as the following:

  • demotion
  • discipline
  • termination

There are also subtle signs of discrimination, such as commenting about a woman’s pregnancy or motherhood. Other ways could be denying a pregnant employee’s requests for reasonable accommodations or offering her a different job that pays less or has fewer responsibilities.

Available options if you experience pregnancy discrimination

If you experience pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, an option is to talk to your employer or human resources department and explain the discrimination you have experienced. Your employer may be willing to work with you to find a solution.

But, if your employer does not address your concerns or retaliates against you, you may need to file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).