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The Truth About the "New" Pennsylvania Law Banning the Touching of Pregnant Bellies
10/26/2013
 
ROBIN'S PERSPECTIVE: There’s a story getting a lot of attention on social media now: Apparently a man in Pennsylvania is facing harassment charges for repeatedly touching the belly of a pregnant woman with whom he worked. It was being reported that “It is now illegal in Pennsylvania to touch the belly of a pregnant woman without her permission.”

Actually, unwanted and offensive touching has always been against the law. This is really not new. When you harass or scare or offend someone else with your touching then you should not be surprised if a harassment charge follows – whether you are touching a pregnant belly or not.

Both federal and Pennsylvania law say that it is unlawful to harass a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. Harassment is illegal when it is either so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Pregnancy discrimination also involves treating a woman (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. That would mean any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignment, training, promotions – or in these days, selection for layoff.

 
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Robin Bond
 
Robin Bond, Esq.
 
 
Workplace Legal Analyst


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