Workplace discrimination related to pregnancy remains a problem

Creating lactation rooms, designating special parking spaces and offering flexible parental leave policies are among the steps some companies in Texas have taken to make working conditions easier for pregnant employees. Nevertheless, discrimination against women who are expecting or those who've recently returned to work following childbirth remains a widespread problem in the workplace. Several years of studies suggest that once this type of bias is triggered, it can be very significant and impactful.

In some situations involving pregnancy-related workplace discrimination, mothers-to-be are overlooked for promotions or denied pay raises. Some employers or supervisors refuse to allow pregnant employees in physically demanding jobs to take additional breaks or bring an extra snack or bottled water with them to the job site. Managers may also refuse to modify job duties, and complaining about such circumstances sometimes results in termination.

In regard to wages, research suggests that each child reduces a woman's hourly earnings by an average of 4 percent. New fathers, on the other hand, benefit from a 6 percent earnings increase. While some women purposely decide not to return to work after giving birth, those who do sometimes experience a demotion or reduction in hours or salary rates. Despite pregnancy discrimination being addressed by the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act that amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the number of cases of this nature is at an all-time high.

Existing laws require employers to make the same accommodations for pregnant workers that they would for other workers with temporary disabilities. Pregnant women must also be given the same consideration for employment or promotions as other individuals. When this type of discrimination is suspected, even when it's more subtle and less overt, an employee rights attorney can determine available legal options. A lawyer may also look for patterns that suggest an employer has discriminated against other women in similar situations.

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