Being Pregnant Shouldn’t Put Your Job at Risk
One of the most exciting parts about being pregnant for me was when I was able to tell people the big news. I was eager to receive advice from friends with kids (until, of course, I was sick of getting advice from friends with kids) and I was giddy that I’d be able to participate in the “oh my god my boobs are getting so big” conversations that I’d heard other women have.
But telling folks at the office? Not so excited to tell. I had just started a new job, and I was, well … embarrassed and worried. I felt like people were going to raise an eyebrow at my timing, question my commitment to the company, wonder if I was coming back after maternity leave. And yes, I was worried about my job stability in general.
Dina Bakst, a lawyer and founder of the organization A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center, wrote an interesting article for The New York Times a few days ago about pregnant women getting pushed out of their jobs.
“Few people realize that getting pregnant can mean losing your job,” she begins. “Imagine a woman who, seven months into her pregnancy, is fired from her position as a cashier because she needed a few extra bathroom breaks.”
And it’s not just happening to women in minimum-wage jobs. “We see this kind of case in our legal clinic all the time,” says Bakst. “It happens every day to pregnant women in the United States, and it happens thanks to a gap between discrimination laws and disability laws.”
So here’s the problem: The law protects women who are pregnant against discrimination, and it requires employers to accommodate workers with disabilities. But, because pregnancy alone is not considered a disability, employers don’t actually have to do anything to accommodate pregnant employees. Nice, right? The good news is that there’s a bill before the New York Legislature to protect this right.
The fact that women have to fight for their right to have children with it costing them their job is pretty sad.
Have you or anyone you know ever been fired by an employer for being pregnant?