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Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. The law prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Under the law, employers must treat pregnant employees the same as employees with temporary disabilities, as long as pregnancy does not interfere with the performance of the employees’ major job functions. Employers must also provide pregnant employees with the same benefits that they provide to temporarily disabled employees, including time off and reasonable help with performing their duties while on the job.
However, employers may make employment decisions based on pregnancy if it is reasonably necessary to normal business operations. For example, a theater may prohibit pregnant stage hands from doing heavy lifting that exceeds the maximum weight allowed by their doctors.
Pregnant employees also have a right to unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for newborn children and a right to have the same or a similar job when they return.
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