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You have been working for a while and you're ready to have a child, so when you find out you're pregnant, you're thrilled. And you think your boss and colleagues will be too -- after all, they know you and how capable you are, so they know you'll manage with aplomb.
But it turns out that after the initial exclamations of congratulations, people in your office start changing their behavior. It feels weird. You know pregnancy discrimination is illegal but how do you know if it's happening? Here are some signs to look out for, according to Parents.
Your prospective maternity leave may shift some responsibilities at work but if you see big changes in behavior or your role early on, that may be a sign that something is wrong. Parents writer Jen Dennis suggests that you keep a notebook of slights or changes, a record of discrimination that might be referred to later, in a lawsuit.
But be careful about cultivating too strong a sense of indignation or outrage. Focusing on everything that feels weird at work all day is a sure fire way to find strange behavior and make yourself miserable. You do have a being growing in your belly, so try to think positive and keep your eye on the prize, your soon-to-be born kid.
As for other prizes you might be illegally deprived of as a result of your pregnancy, here's more to watch out for.
Were you in talks about a raise or promotion that stopped after you announced your pregnancy? That is a possible sign of discrimination (although your boss may not think so or be conscious of it). Similarly if criticism of your work increases and you are continually singled out for corrections, you may have cause for complaint.
If you are excluded from meetings, official or unofficial, that too may present a problem. If all the important talk happens after hours at the bar and you are not attending because you're pregnant, pay attention. Likewise if invites to in-office meetings stop or your educational and training opportunities are yanked, it could indicate discrimination.
None of these things alone is necessarily discrimination -- it's pretty reasonable of your colleagues to assume that you've got other things on your mind now besides happy hour. But they can indicate a problem, especially if you experience a combination of them. Take notes and keep cool.
If problems persist and you feel you are being discriminated against due to your pregnancy, do consult with a lawyer. Many attorneys consult for free or no fee and will be happy to assess your case.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.