The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and the Virginia Human Rights Act prohibit workplace discrimination based on pregnancy, lactation, or childbirth-related conditions. This means an employer is prohibited from declining to hire or promote a pregnant worker because of her condition as long as she can do the job. This also means an employer cannot refuse to hire or promote a pregnant woman based on stereotypes about pregnant workers, or because of any biases co-workers or customers may have against pregnant workers. These laws further prohibit pregnancy discrimination in all other aspects of employment, such as pay, job assignments, layoffs, promotions, training, benefits, firing, or any other terms or conditions of employment.
Pregnancy-based harassment, such as a supervisor’s derogatory comments about one’s pregnancy or related conditions, can also be illegal if the harassment is so frequent or severe that it creates an abusive work environment.
The law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees’ pregnancies or childbirth-related conditions, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer.