Though workplaces across the country continue to improve in many ways, they remain stuck in the past in others. This includes the continuation of all forms of harassment and discrimination in many different work environments.
In particular, discrimination against pregnant workers continues onward despite active attempts to tamp down on it. Just what sort of harassment do these workers face?
Discrimination during hiring
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ensures that workers of all protected classes do not suffer in silence under discrimination and harassment at work. This includes pregnant workers, who often face discrimination before they even get hired.
Discrimination in the hiring process often happens because a hiring employer does not “trust” that the pregnant worker will stick around after giving birth. They often make assumptions about the potential employee’s work ethic among other things, refusing to give them a fair chance based on skill, merit and education alone.
Of course, workers who got pregnant while holding a job will also face forms of discrimination. In many cases, employers cite similar reasons for these unacceptable behaviors: they simply think the pregnant worker will leave. Unfortunately, sometimes these reasons just exist as a thin veil to cover sexism.
Ways that employers might discriminate
Because it is not legal to fire someone just for being pregnant, employers and even co-workers may devise schemes in an attempt to get the pregnant worker to leave instead. One tactic involves excluding the pregnant worker to the point that a hostile work environment gets created, and they leave due to feeling discomforted, isolated and singled out.
Fortunately, protections exist against all forms of harassment against pregnant workers.