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When do I have to tell my employer that I am pregnant?

If you recently learned that you are pregnant, you may be thrilled for the future and all that it may hold for you and your family. While pregnancy is an exciting time for many women, it can also create some anxiety when it comes to notifying an employer. Should you tell them as soon as possible, or put it off for a while? Will they treat you differently?

First of all, it is important to know that you do not have any legal obligation to inform your employer of your pregnancy. It is also important to know that the law protects women from being discriminated against because of a pregnancy. Your employer cannot legally retaliate against you because you are pregnant. Retaliation includes firing you, demoting you or cutting your pay.

Hopefully knowing this helps you rest a little easier about any potential repercussions of telling your employer about your pregnancy. Plus, there are some benefits to sharing the good news sooner than later.

Once your employer knows you are pregnant you can take advantage of the legal protections you are afforded. Aside from the protections we already described -- which are offered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act -- you may also be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act should you experience complications or impairments because of your pregnancy. Under the ADA, your employer will be required to make reasonable accommodations for you.

Finally, if you work for an employer that has at least 50 employees, you may be eligible to take up to three months of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Many women use this benefit to extend maternity leave.

As you can see, there are several protections in place for pregnant employees. While you should not have to worry about the repercussions of telling your employer about your pregnancy, not all employers uphold the law. If you experience discrimination or are denied benefits because of your pregnancy, an experienced employment law attorney can help you assert your rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Do I Have To Notify My Employer of My Pregnancy?" Le Trinh, Esq., July 14, 2015

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