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5 Ways Companies Discriminate Against Moms

Texas companies that don't pay attention to their hiring or employee policies may end up discriminating against moms. Lawsuits stemming from motherhood status can cost a small business in money and reputation.

Companies take heed, here are five common ways businesses discriminate against moms:

1. Discrimination Based on Pregnancy.

Since 1978, employees have been able to sue employers in federal court for pregnancy discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Companies often open themselves to pregnancy discrimination claims by:

  • Denying a promotion to a pregnant employee,
  • Modifying an employee's responsibilities based on pregnancy, or
  • Allowing supervisors to make crass or demeaning comments about pregnancy.

2. Asking Illegal Interview Questions.

Although interviewers sometimes want to delve deep into their applicant's history, certain questions are prohibited by law:

  • Do you have any kids?
  • Are you single or married?
  • What are your plans if you get pregnant?

It is appropriate for employers to ask if you have commitments that will keep you from working regularly.

3. Denying Leave.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with more than 15 employees to give employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for family or medical emergencies.

If a company denies a request for time off for a mother taking care of a severely sick child or for complications due to pregnancy, they may be liable under federal law.

4. Not Making Accommodations.

The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) provides, like federal law, that discrimination based on disability is illegal.

Under both Texas and federal law, pregnancy is considered at least a temporary disability, and the Americans With Disabilities Act requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees to continue working.

5. Sexual Harassment.

Discrimination based on sex under Title VII includes actions at work that amount to sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is certainly not solely the province of women, but moms who are subjected to sexually themed jokes, derogatory employee comments about gender, or lewd office banter have a claim for workplace discrimination.

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