Friday, April 07, 2006

Pregnancy Discrimination on the Rise?

Thanks to Workplace Prof Blog, I was directed to this interesting segment from last Friday's NBC Nightly News, reporting on pregnancy discrimination. Watch the short segment to hear from a woman who is currently claiming pregnancy discrimination, an attorney from the EEOC, and a women's rights attorney.

While pregnancy discrimination is on the rise, according to Cynthia Calvert, the deputy director of The Center for Worklife Law at UC Hastings College of the Law, in a comment she left on the above-referenced Workplace Prof Blog entry, notes that claims of "Family Responsibility Discrimination" have seen a dramatic increase, especially since 2000. FRD discrimination, Calvert explains, includes "claims by pregnant women, parents of young children, and employees who have aging parents or sick spouses/partners."

Calvert lists a number of forms that this FRD takes, ranging from straightforward pregnancy disparate treatment discrimination to giving parents and caregivers work schedules that the employer knows the employee cannot fulfill (basically manufacturing a conflict between the work and the caregiving responsibilities) to developing hiring criteria with the intention that the criteria will exclude working mothers with young children.

Jessica researched the shortcomings of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, but note that the laws of many jurisdictions, including federal laws, do not protect a person's status as a parent or caregiver at all.

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