Working moms: your rights in the office

In today’s society, working mothers are extremely common. Women who balance work life and family time are not unusual but in some cases, even modern-day workplaces do not respect or account for this. Working mothers have certain rights that can help them juggle their work and family responsibilities, but unfortunately, some companies do not comply with these policies.

Here are three protections guaranteed to working mothers, by law:

Pregnancy

If you are just starting or planning on growing your family, you are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act against certain actions from your employer. If you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant soon, your employer cannot deny you a promotion, fire you or otherwise restrict your opportunities at work.

Your employer also cannot require you to take time off or prohibit you from working, if you are still capable of doing your job. These regulations, among others, are designed to make your working conditions fair, so your employer cannot discriminate against you just because you want to grow your family.

Post-pregnancy

After you have a baby, you are also protected in certain ways. Many mothers choose to breastfeed, and you are entitled to things if you need to breastfeed while working. Your employer is required to provide you with an adequate space if you need to pump breastmilk. It should be private and have all equipment you may need, such as a chair or electrical outlet.

You are also entitled to reasonable break time. Your employer is not required to pay you during this time, but they cannot restrict you from taking the time you need.

Family responsibilities

Family responsibility discrimination encompasses many different parts of family life for working mothers. Though it does not only apply to women, it can be a large factor in helping working mothers balance work and life.

A few examples of discrimination that fall under FRD are:

  • Promoting single men over engaged or married women or women with children
  • Giving parents non-flexible work schedules
  • Dismissing employees with family responsibilities without direct cause

If you think your employer may be violating your rights as a working mother, do not hesitate to take action. You may be entitled to file a claim against your company. Figuring out how to navigate a full-time job and a family can be difficult and it should not be made worse by your employer.

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