Unfortunately, the number of pregnancy discrimination cases in the workplace remains an alarming employment issue. This is despite the implementation of the existing labor laws prohibiting such workplace discrimination malpractice.
What make things worse for pregnant employees is that aside from dealing with their sensitive physical and emotional condition brought by pregnancy, victims of pregnancy discrimination also have to deal with the hostility and harassment that they experience in their workplace.
According to a recent report released last week, pregnant women, particularly those in low-wage jobs, are denied basic accommodations and usually get fired.
Some employers continue to refuse to provide pregnant workers with reasonable accommodation that they usually give to employees with disabilities despite the currently existing federal laws designed to prevent such discrimination, a report from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and A Better Balance revealed.
Most commonly, low wage earners are more vulnerable to pregnancy discrimination since they are more likely to have more physically demanding jobs – and less obliging employers. In fact, last week’s report cited numerous cases of pregnancy discrimination filed by pregnant women in low-wage jobs after losing their income, insurance and sometimes their job when they were denied temporary accommodations.
So far, there are three federal laws that promise protections for pregnant women in the workforce, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, such existing laws are apparently being misinterpreted or not applied at all not only by employers but even the courts as well.
The NWLC believes that last week’s report calls for a passage of new federal legislation. Last year, a bill called the Pregnant Workers Act was introduced in Congress and re-introduced this year. The said legislation was said to clear the ambiguity on the previous laws requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.
Meanwhile, several Los Angeles employment lawyers also share the same speculation. Upon implementation of a new law, a clearer guidance and tighter law enforcement also needs to be carried, they suggested. In California, the number of pregnancy discrimination lawsuits has marked a significant decline over the past decade. The said improvement is being attributed to the broad legal protections that the Golden state provides for pregnant workers, they further noted.