HOUSTON, Texas. Women in the workforce sometimes suffer pregnancy discrimination. The New York Times recently did an investigative report on how widespread pregnancy discrimination is in American business. The results are sobering.
When women get pregnant, the Times found that they were more likely to lose promotions, or even get fired. Women who worked in physically demanding fields sometimes found themselves forced to keep working despite advanced pregnancy. According to the Times, for every child a woman has, she can lose as much as 4% from her wage. For men, the situation is the opposite. When they have children, their wages go up.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers aren’t permitted to deny a woman a job because she is pregnant. When it comes to how employers handle pregnancy, they are not permitted to treat women any differently than they would treat a man injured off the job. Essentially, under the law, pregnancy is to be treated the same as any other temporarily disabling condition. Many advocates for women’s rights and family rights believe that women should be given paid leave, but the law has yet to accommodate this.
The bias against women who are pregnant can be seen across the board—from labor-intensive jobs that earn women minimum wage to six-figure salary jobs that claim to promote women in the workforce. In higher-earning jobs, women might find themselves passed for promotions or find that their salaries don’t increase.
In research studies, women who indicate in their resume that they have children are less likely to be called back for jobs than women who come across as childless. The fact that some women take maternity leave and others choose to work shorter hours after having a child can’t explain for the fact that many women who choose to stay in the workforce get paid less than fathers and men.
Some women are fighting back. Pregnancy discrimination is illegal. If you think that you were demoted or fired because you got pregnant or if you believe your pay was cut due to your pregnancy, you may have rights under the law. Moore & Associates are Houston, Texas employment lawyers who work with women facing employment discrimination and sexual harassment.
Other women have faced more dangerous challenges. According to the Times, one woman who worked at Wal-Mart was denied her request for light duty even though her doctor wrote her a note saying it was medically necessary. How many other women’s babies and pregnancies are being put at risk because of employers who aren’t willing to offer alternatives?
Under the law, employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” to women who are pregnant. However, the law is vague enough that employers can sometimes find ways around it. When companies fail to accommodate women’s needs, women may miss time from work. Then, when employers fire them, they can claim it was due to other causes (like their absences), and not their pregnancy. Yet, pregnancy is a difficult time for many women. The body is going through immense changes. Women deserve reasonable and fair accommodations.
If you believe you were discriminated against, consider reaching out to Moore & Associates, employment lawyers in Houston, Texas today. Our firm may be able to help you fight your pregnancy discrimination and seek compensation for your losses.
Moore & Associates
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675
Houston, TX 77002