EEOC: Bias against pregnant workers persists

Pregnant workers still face the threat of firings and other discriminatory practices despite a federal law against such practices, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and an MSN report.

The EEOC pursued 20 cases last year against employers suspected of discriminating against pregnant workers,  one more case than the year before. Claims filed by workers, however, are up about 15 percent from a decade ago and numbered nearly 5,800 last year, the agency says.

MSN cited a $1.64 million settlement that Akal Security Inc. reached with the government in 2010 after claims that the company, the largest provider of contract security services to the federal government, routinely forced pregnant employees working as guards on U.S. military bases to take a leave of absence or discharged them because of their pregnancy.

Discrimination can also include harassing pregnant workers. Low-wage pregnant workers, especially those who have few if any sick days, appear to be the most vulnerable, the report says.

The law states pregnancy discrimination involves treating a woman (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. From the EEOC:

If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, the employer may have to provide light duty, alternative assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees if it does so for other temporarily disabled employees.

99 comments Add your comment

AN

February 16th, 2012
11:42 am

Other countries have such wonderful laws and policies related to pregnancy and maternity leave. It’s one of the areas in which the US just continues to fail behind.

Samantha

February 16th, 2012
12:45 pm

I agree with AN. In some other countries when a woman has a baby, they get paid time off for 18 months. You will NEVER see that in this bias country! It’s amazing how homosexuals have more rights than pregnant women! Sickening!

Staying the Course

February 16th, 2012
12:48 pm

20 cases in how many pregnancies? … that’s all? … and a Federal contractor is the main culprit. Seems like the EEOC is looking for funding … and a cause … more class welfare … rich vs poor … semi-rich vs semi-poor … ethnic groups vs ethnic groups … ah diversity … we ALL have more in common than in difference but the powers that are … exploit the differences.

Randy

February 16th, 2012
1:02 pm

Excuse me but pregnancy is a choice, not an illness. But I guess that’s why we are raising a generation of illiterate and unlearned children. Might also go to explain why unemployment is so high in this country with businesses being forced by our imperial federal government to hire extra employees they can’t afford to cover the hours those “sick” or pregnant women who are not on the job. Choices have consequences believe it or not.
Might I suggest a little family planning and suggest money to be in place BEFORE the pregnancy occurs so the time off will not be at the employers expense?

SugarHillDawg

February 16th, 2012
1:08 pm

If this is true I don’t see a DAMN thing wrong with it. If being pregnant negatively impacts the way a woman does her job too bad! Getting knocked up ain’t the same as catching the flu. She had a hand in it!. She should get NO accommodation. Hey AN those other countries are socialist basket cases. I guess you want us to be like them huh?

The Regressive Party

February 16th, 2012
1:13 pm

Sorry Randy but there is a little thing called ‘law’ on the side of pregnant women. If you don’t like a law, you can work to change it, move to another country, or shut up.

Rockerbabe

February 16th, 2012
1:13 pm

And the church and the GOP wonders why women are adamant about using birth control! Until the guys who run most business start showing some concern and compassion, not to mention fair treatment in the workplace, this hostile environment will not go away. Treating women who are pregnant as unfit workers is just plain wrong. I hope the EEOC takes these employers to the cleaners as that is the only way to get justice for women. No women should be treated this badly because they are having kids or already a mother. Shame on them.

bev

February 16th, 2012
1:15 pm

AN, you’re right on target! Other countries do a way better job in relation to maternity issues! Sadly, the U.S. population is at a -1.3% population growth. You’d think we’d do a better job in this area.

bev

February 16th, 2012
1:18 pm

Randy, when people wait until their finances are in order, they end up having babies when they’re too old. That’s why we have so many kids with down syndrome. Get educated on the facts!! Also, we need our population to grow. Who do you think is going to take care of you when you get old? Get educated!! We all have to rely upon one another.

GaPeach

February 16th, 2012
1:19 pm

WOW Randy & SugarHillDawg! Be sure to thank your MOTHERS for giving birth to you. I am pretty sure they did not do “family planning” before you were conceived. I hope and pray you two do NOT procreate! We have enough idiots in the world, don’t need any more.

Tell The Truth

February 16th, 2012
1:22 pm

Having a baby is a gift from God and only in a corrupt system would a woman be penalized for doing what is obviously natural. As a man, I can’t tell a woman how her body is going to respond to pregnancy.

Randy

February 16th, 2012
1:25 pm

“The Regressive Party” you completely show your ignorance and the mentally challenged thought process you posses. Tell me exactly what I said that has your panties in a wad?
Did you choose to get pregnant? (choice)
You intend not to get pregnant? yet still had sex? (choice)
Protective measure break? Cheap product (choice)
Decided it was time to have a child you could not afford? (choice)
Decide you needed time off from work to give birth to the future welfare recipient? (choice)
Me deciding I don’t want to pay you for that choice? (My choice)
The problem here is I see choices bringing responsibilities and you see choices being an excuse for mob (union, forced federal) laws as your choice.
Who is right?
Go read the US Constitution a tell me exactly what paragraph or sentence gives you the right as a citizen of this country to steal money from people such as myself to pay you to sit home a raise a tricycle motor.

cb

February 16th, 2012
1:25 pm

I’ve worked with several pregnant women over the years. They were out of the office alot due to doctor’s appointments,not feeling well, and leaving the office early for no real good reason. Non-pregnant people would have been terminated for missing so much work, but supervisors never said anything to them.

Randy

February 16th, 2012
1:27 pm

“Bev” and we need our population to grow for what reason? And yes if you don’t have your finances in order why the hell are you having kids you can’t afford?? Your thinking is right along lunacy.

Randy

February 16th, 2012
1:29 pm

Ga Peach my mother did not work until I was in high school. She knew the importance of raising kids, hence the reason I am a productive member of society and not one of you welfare sucking, government dependent brooders.

USMC DAWG

February 16th, 2012
1:33 pm

They are already given enough favoritism and preferential treatment. And you have a ton who abuse the “system”. All a pregnant woman has to do is sneeze and get put on “light” duty, or some type of restrictions that limits their ability to work.

Mad Mother

February 16th, 2012
1:42 pm

The comments on here disgust me. I was a victim of this type of discrimination, and, NO, I did not miss any time from work. As a matter of fact, I worked nights and weekends, and even offered to work during my maternity leave, and was STILL harassed continually by my supervisor, who magically decided AFTER he learned of my pregnancy that all of the sudden I was incompetent. May I also add, he decided this after I had been in the position for almost 5 years, with an impeccable record. Shame on you people who say that pregnancy discrimination is anything but. People who behave this way should be held accountable, sadly, they usually are not. I am now still unemployed 10 months after I was terminated from my job, while the idiot who harassed me constantly still has his job.

Big Al

February 16th, 2012
1:43 pm

At one time I was the only male in an office of 14 employees and FOUR of them were pregnant at the same time. I had a difficult time convincing my wife that I had nothing to do with this.

GaPeach

February 16th, 2012
1:45 pm

Well Randy, I didn’t work either until my son was grown. I raised him to be a productive member of society, but I also raised him not the be an idiot and make idotic comments without being educated on the topic at hand first. I never once mooched off of the government. So I thank you not to accuse myself or anyone else of being on welfare just because they made a comment. We could not afford to have a child, but wanted to start a family. We found a way to make it work, it’s called being creative and cutting back on wants and only doing with what we needed. Yes, we struggled, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I will agree there are people out there who do and will take advantage of the system, but to make such a blanket statement about all pregnancies is just insane.

Jenn

February 16th, 2012
1:48 pm

I have to agree with Randy on this one. Pregnancy is a choice, not an illness. Men don’t get time off from work because their wives are pregnant. This mentality that if you wait until you can afford a kid you’ll be too old to have them is nonsense. It isn’t that it costs more to have children. We have simply grown accustomed to (and feel a sense of entitlement of) a higher standard of living. It’s already been proven that both parents working full-time is a luxury, not a necessity. If anything, one parent’s salary goes only to support the costs associated with working (lunches out, attire, public transit fare or gas for commuting) and then day care for the children.

Most couples, if they weren’t so hung up on their stuff, could afford children on one full-time salary. The second salary almost always goes toward luxuries. It’s a myth that one parent being home full-time is a luxury. My mother did it. I am doing it. We have to be frugal. It means we don’t get two weeks of family vacation at Disney every year. It means we buy clothes at the Goodwill. It means grocery shopping at Aldi. It means I home cook nearly everything we eat. It means learning creative ways to work around one income, but we do it.

Staying the Course

February 16th, 2012
1:50 pm

The case cited in this article basically says that female workers were unable to perform the job tasks as assigned. Remember folks these pregnant employees (that just happen to be female) have a job to perform.

1. Can they forcibly remove prisoners or trespassers from the cell or property without endangering themselves and much importantly an unborn child?
2. Can the employee perform the job task at hand in a safe and reasonable fashion?
3. Can they perform the job without additional assistance?
4. Can they perform the job without possibly endangering their co-workers?

If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then the employee (that just happens to be pregnant) can not perform the primary job functions.

BaBaBinx

February 16th, 2012
1:51 pm

Randy, you will be the first one to complain when your wife gets pregnant and doesn’t get treated fairly…

Just like any other illness or situation, there are always slackers who pull less weight than the others and abuse a situation. But don’t stereotype all pregnant women – I worked up until the day before I gave birth and took NO sick days when pregnant.

root4au

February 16th, 2012
1:53 pm

I don’t see the big problem. My wife had our children, took her alotted time off and then went back to work.

MiltonMan

February 16th, 2012
1:55 pm

FMLA, which requires employers to leave open the job of male and female employees that give birth, adopt, or tend to a sick family member, is still yet another example of well intentioned federal legislation that penalizes the masses for the benefit of a few. Since employers can not afford to hire an extra worker to replace an employee out on FMLA, the work burden falls on those employees remaining behind. SO….don’t expect the rest of us to jump up and down when we hear you are pregnant….

tc

February 16th, 2012
1:58 pm

Randy, how dare you put down working moms. My mother HAD to work for us to eat when I was growing up but she managed to raise 4 productivie citizens as well. Maybe your mother wasn’t able to accomplish such a task but mine and a lot of other were able to do so. You’re mother raised an idiot.

Prego Professional

February 16th, 2012
2:09 pm

Wow – what in the world is with the hating and cynicism toward pregnant working women? To assume that ALL pregnant women take advantage of the “system” or that any unplanned child born to a woman will be a future welfare recipient is disgustingly narrow-minded and offensive.
I’m a working professional, graduated from college with honors, have a wonderful marriage and waited a considerable time to decide to have children. I’ve been employed with the same Corporation for over 10 years and have paid handsomely into Social Security and Medicare taxes for quite some time. I have every right to use my accrued Paid Time Off and Short Term Disability benefits for which I’VE paid toward family & medical leave PER THE LAW. Explain to me how anyone else besides me is PAYING for this benefit?? It’s certainly not coming directly out of YOUR pocket! I hope you never have an illness or medical condition that requires special attention and the use of Short Term Disability benefits, or a family member who requires your undivided care and attention for a temporary period of time. Otherwise, you’d look quite foolish on your soapbox.

I’d love to see how you female-despising “gentlemen” would deal with the job of growing another human being inside your own body. I bet none of you would be able to hack it, as evidenced by your whiny, empathetic remarks. But I’m sure you’re not thinking of YOUR share of the burden of conception when you’re in the midst of an intimate encounter with your wife/girlfriend/other – if you’ve ever even HAD one!

And Randy, you better thank your lucky starts that there are mothers employed in the workplace today! Without them, there would be far less educated, successful contributors to our economy, which would make things a lot worse for us all than they already are! BTW, the importance of raising kids is not dependent on the amount of time the mother spends in/out of the household, but on the time and value each individual family (read: BOTH parents) puts on the enrichment of their family lives, SEPARATE from work. To assume that a stay-at-home mother somehow does a better job of raising productive members of society than a working mother is completely foolish. Case in point: Octomom!

Tulip

February 16th, 2012
2:11 pm

I was pregnant last year. I didn’t take a sick day. I worked before and after my doctor appointments. I worked even on some weekends. I was most productive in my team. I accomplished more than my other non-pregnant co-workers.

big dog

February 16th, 2012
2:16 pm

For all these who wants to discriminate against women for the right to procreate shame on you. By the way how did you get here thru the belly of a woman. Capitalism has made us forget abouth the value of life. This is about the almighty dollar! This is the downfall of the human race as we know it. When don’t care about our human race more than money there goes the world. It is pretty shameful. This is dedicated to Randy. The comments seem pretty racist and sexiest. Please remember how you made to Planet Earth unless you are an alien.

kr

February 16th, 2012
2:17 pm

I cannot say that I am surprised at the level of ignorance here. Randy, I’m not sure where you misread your information, but no employed female would be stealing money from you to have a child. Short-term disability is a widespread benefit offered to many employees and is frequently a company sponsored benefit. Although there have been huge steps towards gender equality, the fact of that there is still a discrepancy and workplaces continue to be sensitive to it. As a working mother, I strive to make a successful example of what today’s woman can provide both the workplace as well as the home in the hopes of changes theses terribly repressed ideals. The reality is the the moajority of higher education degress are held by females, and it is increasingly more common than women have ahigher income level than their spouses. I encourage other women to respesent themselves as strongly in the workforce to beat these hurdles.

Prego Professional

February 16th, 2012
2:18 pm

Whooops – meant “apathetic”, not empathetic! Preggo brain ;)

kr

February 16th, 2012
2:19 pm

kr

February 16th, 2012
2:17 pm
I cannot say that I am surprised at the level of ignorance here. Randy, I’m not sure where you misread your information, but no employed female would be stealing money from you to have a child. Short-term disability is a widespread benefit offered to many employees and is frequently a company sponsored benefit. Although there have been huge steps towards gender equality, the fact is that there is still a discrepancy and workplaces should continue to be sensitive to it. As a working mother, I strive to make a successful example of what today’s woman can provide both the workplace as well as the home in the hopes of changing theses terribly repressed ideals. The reality is the the majority of higher education degrees are held by females, and it is increasingly more common than women have a higher income level than their spouses. I encourage other women to respesent themselves as strongly in the workforce to beat these hurdles.

AJay

February 16th, 2012
2:25 pm

I dont know why I am still shocked by some of the comments on here. Yes Pregnancy is a CHOICE, but it is one that only WOMEN have to contend with. Men do not have that option. When men want to have a family, they just get someone else pregnant and their life continues, but it is the woman in the workplace that gets the stares, glares, and biased treatment. I did not tell my employer until I was 5 months along because I wanted to avoid all that I described because I work primarily with men. Give me a break with the whole…”we shouldnt have to pay for your mistakes” bit. If your mother or wife was gravely sick and you needed to take an extended period of time off, I bet you would take advantage of FMLA time then, right? Lets not forget FMLA is NOT JUST FOR PREGNANCIES!!! Anyone can use that to their benefit.

AJay

February 16th, 2012
2:28 pm

Nicely put Prego Professional!

Edward

February 16th, 2012
2:32 pm

big dog-

No one is discriminating against women for the right to procreate.

However, it is valid for someone to say that it wrong for someone to get preferential treatment just because they are having (or have had) children.

The childless are discriminated in this country. They often have to work extra to make up for parents’ absences. (And before everyone gets upset and says “I make up any time I take off”…I didn’t say ALWAYS or ALL PARENTS…I said ‘often’.) People with children do get preferential treatment. If a father wants to take a couple of hours in the morning for a child’s Dr appt, followed by a couple of hours in the afternoon for a during-school presentation/pageant/etc, then no one is going to bat an eye. If a childless worker wanted to come in late one morning for some reason, and then leave a couple of hours early to go to a baseball game or something, then that person is not likely to be able to do so as easily. (Before you say, “childless people have Dr appointments too”…yes, that’s true, but I would assume those are balanced out by the time off that parents have to take for their own children”.)

If two people want to take off the same week of vacation, and that week happens to be a vacation week for school, then who is going to get preferential treatment? The childless will be told “Oh, you can take vacation anytime.”

Then we can talk about the per-child tax credit that parents get. (No, that does not make up for how much you spend, but that doesn’t mean that others should pay more. Remember, a tax credit for you is actually just additional taxes someone else has to pay.) And, while on the subject of taxes, how about those property taxes that are mostly used for schools?

I’m not taking anything away from those who choose to be parents (and yes, it is a CHOICE…in 99+ % of the time). Good for you, but that doesn’t mean that your choice should be adversely affect others in society.

Edward

February 16th, 2012
2:38 pm

Oops…when I said “balanced out by the time off that parents have to take for their own children”, I meant to say “balanced out by the time off that parents have to take for their own appointments”.

And, I don’t really see this as a male vs. female issue. It’s a parent vs. childless person issue. There are plenty of childless women who are being discriminated against due to the preferential treatment toward parents.

AtWork

February 16th, 2012
2:45 pm

We are comparing apples to oranges. Women give birth to children and men don’t. Obviously some of the men on here think that every woman should pop out babies at their desk or wheree ver and keep working. Some women go through different ups and downs during pregnancy just like people recovering from illness or strenuous activity. People are different and require different needs. The law is in place to protect those of different needs. Some people abuse it and some don’t. This seems to be a place of blaming others for my problems with out any constructive thinking.

When my wife gets pregnant we will be ready. We have been forturnate enough to be able to plan it out but if it doesn’t go as planned we will adapt. That is part of life…live, learn, help others.

JJ

February 16th, 2012
2:59 pm

Samantha you have no idea what you are talking about.
what rights do gay people have that pregnant women do not.
you are the one who is sickening
you are probably a 500 cow who cannot even find a man to get you pregnant!

Julian

February 16th, 2012
3:01 pm

I have to strongly agree with Edward. As an educated childless professional, there is a difference in how employees are treated for family issues vs non-family issues. It appears that parents can easily take off for the childrens’ doctor appointments, school performances, etc, while non-parents are forced to use PTO for similiar obligations. The system is not equitable at all.

Diane

February 16th, 2012
3:03 pm

@bev – Please get your facts straight. 80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35. Waiting to have a baby until older doesn’t increase the number of children born with a disability, although the chance of having a baby with a disability increases with maternal and paternal age.

Gloria

February 16th, 2012
3:08 pm

I’d like for only men to get pregnant for the next 5 years. THEN you’d see some laws changed. Are any of them willing to go without sex for fear of pregnancy? LOL! I know very few women that actually chose to get pregnant when they did. Yet we also have bleeding hearts that say you are damned to hell if you don’t give birth to that beating heart you accidently started.

Childless

February 16th, 2012
3:09 pm

Those of us with no children are even more heavily discriminated in the workplace. We are required to take up the slack. A woman in our office went on maternity leave and her work was assigned to 2 childless women as management decided we would not be demanding time for child centered activities. If you want the 18 months that other countries give new mothers then move to one. I do not think I need to subsidize families with children more than I do through the higher taxes that I pay without the deductions for children. Maybe I should file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC.

Middle of the Road

February 16th, 2012
3:20 pm

I am female and am also the bread-winner in my family. While I understand someone like Randy saying pregnancy is a choice, employers (or good ones) have to be willing to make some accommodations for their employees. I work with mostly men and they are always taking off work because their wife is sick or their heat went out at their house or some other crap. Most men also take off work when their wives have babies. So, to act like pregnant women are the only ones taking off work for pregnancy and sickness makes you look like an ignorant fool.

Yolanda C- Coane and Associates, PLLC

February 16th, 2012
3:27 pm

We continuously take cases of pregnancy discrimination, most of the cases get resolved in Mediations, it is important to file the complain in the EEOC within the limited time

Prego Professional

February 16th, 2012
3:30 pm

Edward, I understand where you’re coming from in saying that childless people may experience discrimination, but as a childless professional for many years, I can say I never felt discriminated towards or frustrated at having to pick up the slack for any of my pregnant coworkers. And trust me, there were many! Unless you work autonomously, a person is expected to contribute their skills and knowledge as part of a TEAM – that means some people may inherently work more/less than others, regardless of their family situation.

Your example of wanting to “come in late for some reason, and then leave a couple hours early to go to a baseball game or something” is like comparing apples to oranges. The parent HAS a definable reason they want/need to take time off versus just feeling like not coming into work on time or wanting to leave early for their own personal recreational activities. What people do with their time off is their business; no one else’s. And if a working parent is able to work out an agreement with their Manager to make up the time spent out of the office by working remotely after normal office hours rather than take time off (as was the case with my former Director, who worked her behind off and was VERY well-respected amongst her peers despite taking time now and then to leave early to support her daughters at their sports events during the week), then that’s also their business.

Just as it’s a choice to have a family, it’s also a choice NOT to. So whining about a child tax credit seems moot. And having a family does not automatically equate to an adverse affect on society. In fact, it seems quite the opposite. One of the major problems in the U.S. today is the level of stress put on professionals to work crazy hours and forgo vacation time just to “produce” more for the Corporations. Why do you think there’s such a focus now on work/life balance? And regardless of whether or not you have a family or not, EVERYONE should be cognizant of the focus they’re putting on their own mental and physical health – pregnancy included.

As I said before, I hope you never have an illness or medical condition that requires special attention and the use of Short Term Disability benefits, or a family member who requires your undivided care and attention for a temporary period of time. If at any point in life you do, you’ll become the “drain on society” that you so woefully abhor.

cb

February 16th, 2012
3:45 pm

I agree with Edward.I also feel that employees with children get preferential treatment compared to the childless. Co-workers with small children (in my work experiences) miss more work than the ones with no small children. And guess what? I’m a FEMALE.

Sometimes I feel like I should get a reward for NOT having children. I’ve consistently used birth control since my late teens-I’m 34 now.

And I’ve often wondered about the per child tax credit. My dogs are my kids. Do I get a tax credit for that? I’d love to claim them as dependents.

nick p

February 16th, 2012
3:46 pm

you know Randy you must be a total idiot, i am sure you have a mom, or a sister, or a wife (i doubt the wife with views you have), but we all have families and we all go throught he same thing starting families, its just a shame that we have turned the issue of women’s health into such a ugly subject this week, and some of you like santorum would like nothing better than to roll back the clock keep your wives barefoot and pregnant, and basically hide in your caves until judgment day, i wish i could be a fly on the wall for your judgment day when you have ot explain to your creator how you came othave such views against your fellow humans such as your wife, sister or mother!

Staying the Course

February 16th, 2012
3:47 pm

Prego … with all due respect,

1. Why should your personal situation (regardless of the reason) have a detrimental impact on your co-worker?
2. Why should it be protected by law, that it is legal to discriminate and/or negatively affect a co-worker due to their lack of a “protected aversion”?
3. Basically, Why should your situation regardless of gender, race, etc. adversely impact someone else?

just curious

Bella

February 16th, 2012
3:56 pm

As a childfree woman (by choice), I have seriously lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked over the years to pick up the slack for someone who was out of the office for something child-related. And then there are the women who take 2 or 3 months off every year and a half or so, when they have another baby. And then I have to do their job in addition to my own, again. I’m getting really tired of being treated like a second class citizen. When do I get to take 3 months off, with pay? Oh yeah…. NEVER.

cb

February 16th, 2012
4:00 pm

Hey Bella, I like the 3 months off with pay idea. I should’ve asked for that when I adopted my second dog.

cb

February 16th, 2012
4:07 pm

Prego Professional,
1. What if the pregnant woman is NOT making up her lost hours or work?
2. Doesn’t someone’s child’s basketball game, dance recital, t-ball game, etc. count as a recreational activity? The parent is watching their child take part in a recreational activity.
3. What is the the meaning of definable? That’s quite a gray area. I can say that me wanting to go home early to meet up with friends for dinner is definable, but that would never fly in a typical office. But definable as in “Connor has a t-ball game” is different because it is someone’s child? I think not.