Pregnant women in New Jersey and across the country continue to face discrimination in the workplace whether through denial of promotions, altered job tracks or even dismissal. In some of America’s largest corporations, women continue to face discriminatory treatment despite these being corporations with significant legal counsel and knowledge that pregnancy discrimination is unlawful.
In one case, a pregnant woman working at a Walmart distribution center was ordered to get a doctor’s note in order to take a break due to morning sickness. When she sought a reassignment away from heavy lifting work supported by medical documentation, her supervisor called her a “liability” and suggested she take unpaid leave.
This is only one case among many documented in recent reports. There have been a number of court cases addressing complaints of workplace discrimination due to pregnancy. A woman at a financial firm faced ongoing sexist remarks, and she was told by her boss that she would no longer have upward mobility at the firm because she was “having babies.”
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is prohibited in the workplace as a form of sex discrimination. It is illegal for women to be fired because of pregnancy or for companies to refuse to hire women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant in the future. In some cases, employers who discriminate against pregnant women attempt to couch their behavior in good intentions and safety concerns. However, the end result is a significant economic and career loss to pregnant women.
Despite the law, however, women continue to face pregnancy discrimination at companies that should instead be well-informed of their legal obligations. People who are discriminated against on the job may wish to work with an employment lawyer to seek justice for the harms that have been done to their careers.