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Federal laws were established to protect pregnant women's rights

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws apply in all workplaces in which 15 or more individuals are on staff. Pregnant women are one of the many different groups of people that are protected from discrimination or harassment in the workplace by the EEOC.

Existing federal EEOC laws don't just provide protections for women who are currently pregnant though. Instead, they also cover women who intend to become pregnant, those who are considering abortion or had one performed on them and women have previously given birth. It's illegal for a woman who is suffering from a pregnancy-related medical condition to be harassed or discriminated against on the job as well.

EEOC laws also require employers who are aware of their employee's pregnancy or a related medical condition to offer that individual alternative accommodations so that they can more safely perform their job. To make the workplace more accommodating for a pregnant worker, an employer may have to alter her work schedule, provide office furniture that is ergonomic or allow her to work at home.

If you've been placed on bed rest or told by your doctor that even performing light duties may jeopardize your health or your baby's health, then your employer still may be required under existing EEOC laws to offer you unpaid leave. If not, then you may qualify to receive it under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Requests to receive special accommodations under existing EEOC laws or the FMLA should be directed to your employer's human resource officer. If you have a valid concern and your request goes unaddressed, then you may benefit from discussing your concerns with a Charleston, West Virginia workplace discrimination attorney.

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