Being pregnant could cost you your job.
“What?,” you’re thinking. “Isn’t that illegal?” In a word, yes.
Despite employment discrimination against pregnant women being illegal for 35 years, some employers still don’t know the rules. The EEOC reports that women have been fired for pregnancy, denied jobs for pregnancy, and lost their jobs after trying to take time off after birth. And pregnancy discrimination has been on the rise for a decade:
The number of pregnancy discrimination charges increased about 15 percent in the last 10 years to 5,797 last year. That’s down slightly from 2010’s total claims of 6,119, according to the EEOC.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission plans to increase outreach to employers to make sure they understand the law. They are also increasing the number of cases filed against employers who are found to discriminate against pregnant women.
This story highlights the need for women, pregnant or not, to know their rights in the workplace. Employers are legally barred from firing you for being pregnant or refusing to hire a pregnant prospective employee on the grounds of pregnancy. If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace for your pregnancy, contact your company’s HR department or the EEOC.
Have you faced discrimination because of a pregnancy? How did you handle it?
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