The United States Department of Labor reports that women make up about 50% of the workforce in the U.S. The Departments also says that 85% of these women will become pregnant. These facts are a cause for concern for people in California concerned with the health and well-being of working mothers and their babies.
Women who are unable to keep up with their work duties due to pregnancy are afforded the same considerations as workers with other disabilities. However, workplace discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have risen steadily over the last decade.
Pregnancy discrimination includes any actions taken against a woman in the workplace because she is expecting a baby. Common ways in which pregnant women experience workplace discrimination is a denial of a job, losing a job, losing out on a promotion or reassignment to an unwanted position.
A study performed at Baylor University demonstrated that the health of both the expectant mother and her unborn baby could suffer due to the stress of pregnancy discrimination. This discrimination increases the likelihood of postpartum depression for working mothers. Pregnancy discrimination also makes it more likely babies will have low birth weights and need more medical attention during their infant stages.
Expectant mothers should gain a clear understanding of the policies and guidelines the company they work for has set forth for pregnant workers. It’s also important to understand legal rights in the event a rights violation occurs. These mothers should remember that a job is not worth more than their health or the health of their baby. Expectant mothers should be assertive whenever job conditions are not conducive to their mental and physical well-being.
Employment law guidelines are specific in the protections afforded to women who remain a part of the workforce while expecting a baby. Pregnant women with questions regarding these guidelines or who have a problem with their job conditions may receive the answers they need from speaking to an attorney.