From the moment a woman learns she is pregnant, life is never the same. Excitement and anxiety over the prospect of becoming a mother and caring for and raising a child are all normal feelings. For a growing number of pregnant women, however, fear over losing their jobs is also unfortunately becoming normal.
While federal laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act exist to protect the rights and jobs of pregnant workers, many employers fail to abide by these laws. Officials at the National Women's Law Center recently released a report detailing the need for more laws to protect the rights of pregnant workers. In the report, officials document several cases in which the rights of pregnant employees were not upheld.
For example, a pregnant cashier was denied a request to sit while working. Forced to stand for up to 10 hours per day, the women was eventually forced to take unpaid time off of work. Another case cited in the report details a pregnant fast food employee who was ultimately fired after requesting she be allowed to drink fluids and snack periodically while working.
These cases are appalling and show a disturbing trend in pregnancy discrimination among low-wage employees. In an effort to protect the rights and jobs of these women, many advocates are calling for clearer interpretation of existing laws as well as additional laws to protect the rights of pregnant employees.
Women who believe their employer is not adhering to FMLA or who believe they have suffered pregnancy discrimination may choose to speak with an employment attorney. In many cases, the actions and inactions of these employers are illegal and a lawsuit may be an appropriate means to seeking justice and recovering compensation.
Source: CBS News, "Report: Pregnant workes face routine discrimination," Stephen Smith, June 18, 2013