How to cope with Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnancy is a life-changing moment for every woman. Whether or not you were prepared for the soon to arrive baby, you can expect both positive and negative changes during pregnancy.

 Pregnancy discrimination is among the most common challenges that most women complain about. Unfortunately, your best child-bearing years are also your most productive working years, making it tricky to separate pregnancy and work. 

Nevertheless, this does not justify pregnancy discrimination. Read on to learn more about pregnancy discrimination and how you can cope with it. 

What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination is discrimination at your workplace because of pregnancy, childbirth, or maternity conditions. It can be seen through actions like being fired, reduced pay, denied paid maternity leave, or missing a job opportunity because you are pregnant. 

In Kenya, discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy is forbidden by Article 27 of the constitution. Unfortunately, like many other constitutional laws, the pregnancy discrimination law is broken in some workplaces. If you are working in such an environment, learning ways to protect you against pregnancy discrimination is paramount.

What Are the Signs of Pregnancy Discrimination?

  • Your employer asking too many questions about your pregnancy 
  • Joking about being able to work 
  • Increased criticism 
  • Missing out on promotions and raises 
  • Your employer asking about your pregnancy when hiring you 

How Can You Cope with Pregnancy Discrimination?

If you have noticed these preganancy discrimination signs in your workplace, you can cope and manage it through ways like; 

  • Inform Your Employer 

When you find out that you are pregnant, don’t hesitate to inform your employer. Waiting until your employer can see that you are pregnant or learns through other ways can have serious repercussions and encourage discrimination. 

Therefore, let your employer know about your pregnancy before it is too late. Additionally, give them other details such as your due date and inform them if you have any pregnancy-related condition that needs special treatment. 

  • Know Your Rights 

It is hard to get unfair treatment if you are familiar with your rights. Otherwise, anybody may take advantage of your naiveness. To avoid such, brace yourself with pregnancy rights in Kenya, such as being entitled to full pay maternity leave if you give a notice of not less than seven days. 

Moreover, you are entitled to sick leave in case you fall sick during working days. Knowing such and other pregnancy rights will help you take the necessary steps in case anyone tries to break them, thus avoiding discrimination. 

  • Strive to Work Whenever Possible

One of the main reasons for pregnancy discrimination is that your boss fears that you will not be as effective in your work as before. With this in mind, if you can, continue working for as long as possible. 

Strive to provide the same quality as you did before you got pregnant. Your boss will realize that pregnancy does not hinder you from providing quality and give you the respect you deserve. However, take care not to go too far but handle only what you can comfortably afford to handle.

  • Speak Up

If you feel that the discrimination is too much, don’t continue to suffer in silence. Instead, report the issue to the necessary authorities to seek justice. When reporting, ensure that you have evidence to prove your claims. Your employer is most likely to stop the discrimination if you speak up. 

Stop Suffering in Silence

Pregnancy time should be stress-free to help you handle the added pressure on your body. For this reason, don’t continue to condone pregnancy discrimination when you can avoid it. Remember that pregnancy and motherhood do not mean that you cannot be a successful career woman. 

Sources: Kenya Employment Law, AAUUW, Forbes, Workplace Fairness, dol, Insperity, Workforce

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