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5 Subtle signs of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

There are seemingly countless things you have to prepare for as an expecting mother, but no mother expects they may have to adjust to a lack of support from their workplace as they grow their family. Pregnancy discrimination occurs when an employer discriminates based on pregnancy, childbirth or being a working mother. It may include denial for reasonable accommodations in the workplace or time off, firing or demoting a pregnant employee or any other adverse action taken due to an employee’s pregnancy.

As most employers are aware discrimination in the workplace is illegal, the signs of pregnancy discrimination aren’t always overt. However, one thing they all have in common is they represent a sudden shift in the way things are at work. Here are five subtle signs of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace:

Your boss singles you out in the office

While not all unpleasant behavior from your boss is illegal, if they seem to be specifically targeting you in the office because of your condition, you may be experiencing discrimination.

Criticism increases

If your managers consistently gave you good reviews and positive feedback in the past but notice a sudden increase in negative feedback while you’re pregnant, it could be a red flag. You might suddenly receive more feedback than usual or observe a shift in their tone or language that suggests trouble.

You’re not getting a raise or promotion

Sometimes pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is more about what isn’t happening to a pregnant employee. For example, if you were on track to receive a raise or promotion before your pregnancy announcement, but the conversation is now suddenly off the table, this could be indicative of a problem.

You’re missing out on training opportunities

If it feels like your employer has excluded you from educational opportunities or additional training since you got pregnant, you might want to ask for clarification on why. Less new projects, seminars, classes or other growth opportunities in the workplace might suggest your employer doesn’t want to invest in you because of your pregnancy.

Your inbox is empty

If your once-packed inbox is suddenly empty or you’re noticing fewer emails, this can be a subtle sign of discrimination. For example, if you are usually included on relevant work emails, but that’s no longer the case, you may be experiencing workplace exclusion.

While these warning signs don’t always mean you’re facing discrimination, you should start taking note if it becomes a pattern. If you need to escalate the problem to HR or further, well-documented examples will significantly help your case.