Four years after the Supreme Court ruling for Young vs. UPS was meant to protect pregnant women in the workforce, it is failing to do so. It was supposed to allow for special accommodations like extra bathroom breaks, lighter lifting requirements, and modifying duties by doing things like providing a stool to sit on for a cashier shift.
It seems that companies are still getting away with firing women for being pregnant. A new study of federal lawsuits revealed that women lose their pregnancy discrimination cases 2/3 of the time and those who have physically demanding jobs suffer the most. They're having to choose between keeping their jobs and having a healthy pregnancy.
It's rare for a large corporation to allow any extra time off and they mean that with no exceptions. If a woman is unable to leave for doctors appointments or take time off for morning sickness, she may just leave that job altogether. The 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act took the first steps of protecting pregnant women by stating pregnant women be treated like any other temporarily disabled worker. The wording is the problem that allows for this discrimination. Pregnant women aren't temporarily disabled.
The HuffPost took a stance on this issue where the United States is so woefully behind. Lack of a national maternity leave leaves a quarter of women having to return to work just two weeks after giving birth. Not only are women still physically recovering from giving birth, but they're also missing vitally important time with their newborns. Both the mothers and their children suffer when the mom is forced to return to work soon. Women are more likely to be depressed being separated from their baby so soon and are less likely to breastfeed.
The analysis was completed by A Better Balance, an advocacy group that provides legal representation for families and caregivers. Dina Bakst, co-president and co-founder of A Better Balance, as well as co-author of the study, said, "We know when women are pushed out, it often spirals into a deep circle of poverty that they have a tough time climbing out of,” highlighting the unfairness of the treatment of women.
The report tells the stories of many women who have lost their jobs due to pregnancy and lost their court cases. Many losses cite not enough proof or evidence. This study is a cruel reminder that the US isn't yet family friendly and women are usually the ones to suffer.
They give up money or careers to raise children. Why can't they do both? A Better Balance theorizes that a federal law with careful wording could help pregnant women keep their jobs and allow them to have enough time to recover from giving birth and bonding with their babies.
How did your job handle your pregnancy? Share your stories in the comments!