Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

Since their integration into the workplace, women have become an important part of today’s labor force. In recent years, working women have made strides to become a critical part of the labor force while simultaneously raising and supporting their families. According to Pew Research Center, mothers serve as the sole or primary provider in 40 percent of households with children. Despite this progress, women have faced a variety of obstacles in the workplace, including one of the most prominent issues: pregnancy discrimination.

A recent survey of 500 managers revealed that 40 percent of them would rather hire a man aged 20 to 30 than a woman of the same age for fear that they would have to grant her maternity leave if she were to become pregnant. A similar number of managers surveyed stated that they would be wary of hiring a woman who has already had a child or hiring a mother for a senior role. As many as 44 percent of the managers stated that the financial cost of maternity leave for employees poses a significant burden on the business.

Pregnancy discrimination extends beyond the pre-hiring stages, as many women who become pregnant while working face negative or discriminatory behavior from their employers. A report from the Women and Equalities Select Committee estimates that 53,000 women each year are being discouraged from attending antenatal appointments by their employers, despite the fact that permanent employees are granted the right to time off for crucial check-ups.

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), it is illegal to treat someone unfairly, whether an applicant or employee, due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. The law forbids pregnancy discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, training, pay, job assignments, layoffs, firing, or benefits, among other terms or conditions of employment. Women employees may also be protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

If you or a loved one has faced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, contact an experienced New York employment lawyer. For the past three decades, “The Employee’s Lawyer” Steven Sack has successfully represented clients in employment discrimination cases, including a pregnancy discrimination case that resulted in obtaining a $6.2 million jury verdict on behalf of his clients. To schedule a consultation, call (917) 317-8000.

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