The EEOC held a public meeting last week to discuss “recent trends in discrimination against pregnant workers and workers with caregiving responsibilities, examining these two forms of discrimination as a continuum.”
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The EEOC’s Take
“Pregnancy discrimination persists in the 21st century workplace, unnecessarily depriving women of the means to support their families,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien. “Similarly, caregivers — both men and women — too often face unequal treatment on the job. The EEOC is committed to ensuring that job applicants and employees are not subjected to unlawful discrimination on account of pregnancy or because of their efforts to balance work and family responsibilities.”
Here are some of the key points from the EEOC’s summary:
- Women currently make up 47% of the workforce.
- Women are the primary or co-primary breadwinner in nearly two-thirds of families.
- Despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act more than 30 years ago, women still often face demotions, prejudice and job loss when they become pregnant
- The last 40 years have seen a major increase in the number of women choosing to work while pregnant and in the later stages of pregnancy.
- There is a “motherhood wage penalty” of as much as 5% per child, which leads to motherhood constituting a “significant risk factor for poverty.”
- 42% of employees have provided care for an aging relative or friend in the past 5 years and nearly half expect to provide elder care in the next 5 years.
- A panelist recounted a story of a pregnant woman who was not permitted to alter her uniform due to her pregnancy and was forced to take leave when it no longer fit.
- Another panelist shared examples of men who were punished for taking caregiver leave based on gender stereotypes that it’s “women’s work.”
Want to Share Your Thoughts?
The meeting record will be help open through March 1. Comments can be emailed to Commissionmeetingcomments@eeoc.gov or mailed to:
EEOC Executive Officer
131 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20507
Here’s an MSNBC article declaring that “pregnancy bias is alive and well in America.”