You might have heard about the recent story in the news wherein a woman is suing UPS for being forced into unpaid leave because she was pregnant. UPS apparently did not make accommodations for her in the workplace, but just put her on leave until after she had given birth.
You can read more about the story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/07/03/up-next-for-the-supreme-court-pregnant-workers-rights/
While we will have to wait and see how this story will play out in the court system, there is an important lesson for us to learn about it now. If you are pregnant and you have verification from your doctor, it is within your rights to ask that accommodations be made for you. So for example if you are a student and you become pregnant, you can ask your school for help to meet your learning needs.
A lot of women who become pregnant while they are still in school face a great amount of adversity. There is no reason that you should have to face more than necessary. It is within your rights to ask for a different desk, a more comfortable chair, and even help with homework before and after your baby comes.
Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy while you are in high school or college is difficult and embarrassing. Therefore many women are reluctant to ask for the help that is available to them so that they can get their educational needs met.
If you feel too embarrassed to ask, here are some ways to make it easier.
1. If possible, contact your school via email about your pregnancy.
2. Find a teacher in your school who is compassionate and who you trust and talk with him/her about what to do next.
3. If your parents already know you are pregnant, have them contact the school on your behalf.
Having an unexpected pregnancy can be really, really embarrassing. No one likes to be judged or teased, but there are many laws that are in place precisely to protect pregnant woman. The laws are there to help you and you don’t need to feel shame in asking for the help that you need. Sometimes though it takes being a Stand Up Girl to be assertive and ask for your rights. But no matter how people react to you or what they say, you can know that there is nothing wrong with asking for accommodations and help, you are well within your rights to do so.
Note: The information in this document does not constitute legal information or advice. It is also not a substitute for legal or other professional advice. Please consult your own legal counsel for advice and laws regarding your circumstances.