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Is pregnancy discrimination still a problem?

Having children is a dream shared by couples throughout Missouri. They may spend months and years trying to get pregnant and when they succeed, it is joyous news to share with friends and family. As the news makes its way around the office, a pregnant woman may also have to deal with some not-so-happy reactions. As the baby grows and the mom-to-be starts to show, she may find herself suddenly on the sidelines or worse, unemployed.

After reviewing thousands of pages of court and public records and interviewing several dozen women and their attorneys, as well as government representatives, the New York Times reports on a pattern it has found. Pregnant women at companies big and small may be seen as less committed than other employees and they may experience instances of being passed over for important assignments, bonuses, raises in salaries and promotions. If they don’t like this treatment and make a complaint, they risk being fired.

Women with physical jobs, such as moving boxes and hauling freight, may be fired when they ask to do lighter work through their pregnancies. Women in offices may not receive such blatant discrimination, but they still experience it by being excluded from bonuses and important meetings. It occurs at all levels and throughout all industries, including private companies and government agencies. It even occurs at companies that claim to empower women, including retail stores, media companies and law firms too.

It occurs often enough that claims of pregnancy discrimination are rising at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 2017, the agency took more than 3,000 complaints, nearly double the amount from 1992, when electronic records were first kept.

This article contains general information about pregnancy discrimination and is not intended as legal advice.

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