Here’s a pop quiz: Which of the following would violate federal employment law?
1. Laying off a pregnant woman.
2. Laying off a woman on maternity leave.
Pencils down. The answer is “neither.”
So long as employers can make the case that the firing has nothing to do with pregnancy or maternity leave – it’s all good. And it makes sense in theory: after all, folks who do a bad job should be fired no matter what their pregnancy/motherhood status. But the problem is, it seems like employers are using the economy to discriminate against mothers.
“Some employers are using the economy as a pretense for laying off just one person,” Ms. [Elizabeth] Grossman, [a lawyer for the New York district office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] said. “And very often that person is pregnant or the oldest employee on staff. The economy may be the legitimate cause — or there may be discrimination.”
Last year the number of pregnancy-based discrimination charges filed with the E.E.O.C. was up nearly 50 percent from a decade earlier, to a total of 6,285. That number seems likely to rise even higher this year.
The whole article is really interesting; make sure to check it out. For more information on motherhood and discrimination, go to Moms Rising.