Employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is prohibited by federal law (Title VII), which applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Even if you work for a company with less than 15 employees, you might still be protected against pregnancy discrimination under Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII, which covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. Title VII also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. Women who are pregnant or affected by pregnancy-related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.
Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because she is pregnant or has a pregnancy-related condition, as long as she is able to perform the major functions of the job. Similarly, an employee may not be fired, demoted, or denied a promotion because of pregnancy. Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. If an employee has been absent from work as a result of a pregnancy-related condition and recovers, her employer may not require her to remain on leave until the baby’s birth. An employer also may not have a rule that prohibits an employee from returning to work for a predetermined length of time after childbirth. Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave.
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on pregnancy or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.