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Pregnancy Discrimination Claims On The Rise

Pregnancy Discrimination Claims On The Rise

Claims for pregnancy discrimination are up nearly 23 percent according to the EEOC, despite the fact that protections against pregnancy discrimination at both the state and federal level get rolled back.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibits employers with 15 or more workers from discriminating based on pregnancy or childbirth, and pregnant women must be permitted to work as long as they are able, with any absences treated the same as any other disability leave. Despite those protections, hundreds of women, mostly in low-paying jobs, see their paychecks disappear right after they tell their bosses about their pregnancies.

The EEOC held a hearing on pregnancy discrimination where these stories were highlighted. Many low-wage women face “an increasingly common pattern of discrimination” where their employer forces them to take an unpaid leave after learning of their pregnancies, said Sharon Terman, a senior staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society — Employment Law Center in San Francisco. The leave, she told the EEOC in a Feb. 15 hearing, is not based on medical need, but on the employers’ “unfounded assumption about the woman’s capacity to do her job.”

Three-quarters of the 268 pregnancy-related EEOC lawsuits in the past decade alleged wrongful firing, while 10 percent brought claims of unlawful failure to hire. The suits often come after EEOC investigators look into charges filed by individuals with their local EEOC offices.

Companies as diverse as Delta Air Lines, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club, Imagine Schools, Rehab Management of Maryland and Verizon have all paid restitution related to pregnancy discrimination, according to EEOC records. “At the core, all of these cases involve employers who held stereotypical assumptions about pregnant women,” EEOC general counsel David Lopez said during the hearing.

Lopez’s  statement gets right to the heart of the matter in this and all discrimination claims really. Facts and evidence do not drive discriminatory employment practices, stereotypes do which is why these legislative remedies were necessary to begin with.

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Photo from Ed Yourdan via flickr.

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33 comments

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3:00AM PST on Feb 5, 2013

UNACCEPTABLE.

5:34PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

I am posting on fb. And writing letters !

3:02PM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

despicable!

3:30PM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

During my pregnancy, I was lucky to be working for a university. My job required me to "toil" up 3 long flights of stairs to my classrooms, as a handicapped person. Nevertheless, I managed to teach through the semester, arrange my students' exams for the last day of classes, correct them over the weekend and go into labor Tuesday morning!

5:05PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

I was denied bathroom breaks and lunch breaks at work when I was pregnant, I was expected to "suck it up" and "work through it". I would stand for 8 to 10 hours straight with no break and my doctor all but ORDERED me to ask for a chair. They said I could have a chair but was not permitted to sit in it, because I needed to look "busy" behind the register

12:07AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

If more women don't realize that their rights are speedily being taken away by the narrow minded politicians and don't act by voting them out of office, there will come a day when they will ask themselves, what happened to my rights?? By that time it will be too late. The future of women who have to put up with all this injustice of being attacked on contraception, abortion, and closing the Planned Parenthood offices which have helped with cancer screenings, pregnancies and many others is leading them down the path to second class citizenship. Women have so much power but they don't realize it, and if they do they don't use it. If women went on strike in the kitchen and the bedroom I believe things would change quickly and for the better. Look at the voting records of all the politicians and use the Power of your VOTE and remove any politician of any party that tries to take away your rights.

5:46PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

awful

4:04PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

I was forced out of the workplace too when I was pregnant with my first child. The company I worked for is owned by a Forbes and has factories throughout the US. I could not find a single lawyer in my State who would go up against thier legal team even though I could clearly prove violations of the companies own policies within the written employee contract.
Employers get away with this stuff all the time...always have.
Like another poster, I was forced to go on unemployment, pay for COBRA, had a preemie baby and discovered that if I went back into the workforce, I would be making just enough money to pay for a daycare provider and not a bit more.
This is how Government wrapped around the pinkies of Big Business creates welfare families.

2:14PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Pregnant women are just as capable as working as any other healthy person. Hopefully this madness will stop soon

1:14PM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Before these people who think that pregnant women and women in general start blabbing about men being superior, maybe they should ask their moms about it.
Quote: "And how came Jesus into the world? From God and a woman! Through God who created Jesus and woman who bore Him! Man, where is your part?"
Women are powerful, with men or without them.

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