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Pregnant workers and workplace dress codes

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Discrimination

Pregnant workers unfortunately still face workplace discrimination to this day, despite the fact that laws exist to limit these occurrences.

Some of this discrimination comes in surprising forms, too. For example, even a workplace’s dress code could potentially get weaponized against a pregnant worker.

Issues with dress codes

The New York Times discusses the rights of pregnant workers. This includes their right to retain employment even if they cannot strictly adhere to the dress code as expected of them.

Recent issues occurred in an industry in which female workers had to wear tight shorts known as “hot pants”, along with cropped shirts. One pregnant worker got fired because she could no longer comfortably or reasonably wear this uniform.

Of course, she had a legal leg to stand on in this case because her pregnancy directly resulted in her getting fired. If she had not been pregnant, she could have continued wearing the uniform and would not have lost her job. It is a textbook example of pregnancy discrimination, where a pregnancy costs someone their work.

Subtle retaliatory measures

There are other, more subtle ways in which an employer may act against their pregnant workers, though. For example, if they disagree with the way a worker is or is not wearing their uniform when pregnant, they could instead create a toxic environment in the hopes that the worker will quit on her own.

This is also an actionable offense, meaning that the workers who suffered from such discrimination can take action against their employer. It is a good thing for pregnant workers to keep in mind, especially those who work in places with strict dress codes.