Job discrimination against pregnant women is on the rise, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC reports that more than 4,900 pregnancy discrimination complaints were filed last year---almost 25 percent more than in 1997. And pregnancy discrimination lawsuits filed by the EEOC have more than quadrupled, from 6 per year in the late '90s to 32 percent last year. Some employers say companies may make missteps trying to sort through the confusing maze of state and federal laws on pregnancy rights. But one other factor driving the rate of court disputes may be that more pregnant women are also staying on the job than in prior decades.
One friend recently told me in her mother's day it was de rigueur for pregnant public school teachers to quit their jobs, rather than wait to be fired--her mother having been one of the aforementioned teachers in the 1970s. Today, pregnant network TV anchors practically deliver on camera.
What a difference a few decades makes!
The agency issued a 33-page document this week laying out what is permissible behavior for employers and what is not. And by the way, the rules protect fathers taking paternity leave, too. The Wall Street Journal reports, "It could be permissible under federal law, for example, for a company to refuse to hire parents -- as long as the rule is sex-blind, affecting fathers and mothers equally. It's discrimination based on sex roles that is being targeted."