September 12, 2012 Articles

Pregnancy Discrimination Is on the Rise

Discriminatory attitudes about pregnant women are prevalent and can affect women's wages in the workplace.

By Renee Elise Coover

Few people realize that getting pregnant may cost a woman her job. But even in 2012, pregnancy discrimination exists—and it is on the rise. In fact, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data reveal that charges filed by individuals alleging pregnancy discrimination have increased by 46 percent from 1997 to 2011. The EEOC recently held an all-day public meeting on February 15, 2012, dedicated to the issue of pregnancy discrimination against women in the workplace. During this meeting, former EEOC Commissioner Stuart Ishimaru expressed his disbelief when he said, “You would think, and certainly I did, that 35 years after the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, we wouldn’t need to be having a meeting on pregnancy discrimination.” But indeed we do. Currently there are three federal laws that regulate different aspects of pregnancy: the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

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