Photo: Flickr via yourdon
Employers know that having a pregnant woman in the office comes with some complications: hours may cut back, job duties may change and she’ll have to eventually take some time off — work is no longer the priority. Claire Gordon at AOL Jobs reports that if employers aren’t comfortable with all these changes, they can fire their pregnant employee without any legal repercussions.
In 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 5,800 pregnancy discrimination complaints, an increase from 4,000 in 1997.
Although the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 says that it’s illegal for employers to “fire, demote, reassign, or refuse to hire a woman for being pregnant,” the law doesn’t say that pregnant women should be treated differently while carrying a child. This means that if she can’t pick up the 70 pounds of boxes she usually can, her employer has the right to dismiss her from her job.
A possible solution would be to include pregnant women under the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, and although this would guarantee them greater protection in the workplace, it can also alter the definition of pregnancy, “sending the message that being with-child is a physical defective state,” Gordon says.
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