Here’s a handy guide on how you and your managers can steer clear of discrimination issues while your employees are awaiting their bundles of joy.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pregnancy bias claims, along with claims of sex discrimination, ranked as the third most frequent complaint in 2012.
Here are five ways to save you, your managers and your company from a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, courtesy of Robin E. Shea on the Employment and Labor Insider blog: Managers and execs, take note — never, ever make fun of a pregnant woman’s appearance. Actions to avoid at all costs: patting a woman’s belly, teasing her about being big, or any other weird thing that we can’t think of. Shea’s acceptable word usage toward women who are pregnant include “radiant” and “beautiful,” though she recommends men don’t go too overboard even in that area for obvious reasons.
- A miscarriage or a stillbirth is a tragedy. No two ways around it — these are terrible things to happen to everyone involved. The only acceptable response from a company employee: “I’m so sorry. What can I/we do?”
- It’s also great when the employee comes back to work. Unless you discovered the worker was stealing money while she was on maternity leave, you couldn’t be more excited to have her back at work with the same pay and perks as well as breast milk expressing accommodations if necessary.
- Yes, she can bring the baby in, if … If your workplace is the kind of environment where these things happen, it shouldn’t be a problem. However, it might be an issue if doing so would disrupt other staffers’ work schedules or wouldn’t be safe. Use your best judgment.