When you think about pregnancy discrimination, you likely think it only impacts your career if you become pregnant and then lose your job. Rather than working with you throughout the process and then giving you proper maternity leave, your employer simply opts to fire you and hire someone else.
However, it may go even beyond this blatant example of workplace discrimination. As one expert put it, just the possibility that you could become pregnant in some hypothetical future could make you a less attractive worker to some employers.
Remember, in this situation, you’re not even actively pregnant. You may not be married or even dating anyway. All of that may not change the employer’s opinion of you.
Say you apply for a new job and you are well qualified. You’re still young at just 25 years old. However, the job goes to a man who has less experience than you and doesn’t seem nearly as well qualified.
The employer’s reasoning is that you may decide to have a baby at some point in the next 10 years. They don’t want to deal with that, so they hire a male worker who will not become pregnant. Never mind that you may never have planned to have a child at all, but the mere fact that you could get pregnant may have just cost you a job that you otherwise deserved.
In many ways, this is really just no different than gender discrimination. It is a way to treat female workers unfairly. If it does happen to you, it’s critical to look into your legal options.