March 1, 2012
Workplace Pregnancy Discrimination: Not What Moms-to-Be Expect
Our country celebrates motherhood, right? Tell that to employers. Studies show that thousands of women across the country are discriminated against because of pregnancy-related issues and that discrimination charges against employers have increased by 35 percent in the past decade, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statistics reported by Time magazine.
Since 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act has protected women from being fired or subjected to harassment or demotion on the basis of their pregnancy. But that hasn’t ended pregnancy-related discrimination.
“Pregnancy discrimination persists in the 21st century workplace, unnecessarily depriving women of the means to support their families,” said Jacqueline Berrien, chairwoman of the EEOC.
The result of a woman suddenly losing a job, insurance benefits or being forced to work reduced hours is a swift fall into poverty. What’s more, an Indiana University sociologist suggested that working women who give birth are further discriminated against in the form of a wage decrease of up to 5 percent per child.
What can women do to protect themselves against pregnancy-related discrimination? First, know your rights. To familiarize yourself with workplace pregnancy laws, click here.
To read about why women of color are four times more likely than white women to die during childbirth, click here.
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