Pregnancy Discrimination Today

May 07, 2008

When my grandmother became pregnant with my mother, her first child, she was fired from her job. My grandfather was still in college and they had no other income, so they scrimped and borrowed from relatives to get by. After my mother was born, my grandmother looked for a new job because she had been replaced at her old job. Less than two years later, she was fired again when she became pregnant again. Her experience occurred in the late 1950s, years before the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before then, it was common practice to fire and replace pregnant women or not hire women who might become pregnant.

Now, 30 years later, pregnant women still face discrimination. Here are two recent news articles that caught my eye: (1) A study in the United Kingdom found that 76% of employers said they would not hire a woman if they knew she was going to become pregnant within six months of starting her employment. (2) The financial news and data firm Bloomberg LP is facing a lawsuit involving 58 women who say they faced pay cuts and demotions or were denied job growth opportunities because they had become pregnant.

Later this month, the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund will launch a new pregnancy discrimination section of its online resource library to provide legal background, facts, and statistics on this topic. Visit this section to learn more about the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and what to do if you’re being discriminated against.

Have you or someone you know ever faced discrimination due to pregnancy? If so, what happened? Do you think expectant or new fathers face a higher risk of job discrimination than in the past?

By:   |   May 07, 2008

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