The Rise in Pregnancy-Related Employment Discrimination Claims


Laws protecting female workers from discrimination have succeeded, more women are entering and remaining in the workforce in more diverse occupations than ever before. With expanded participation has come the need to adapt the workplace to pregnant and breast-feeding workers. It is estimated that 75 percent of women entering the workforce will be pregnant during their employment, and 75 percent of new mothers choose to breastfeed. Discrimination claims result when pregnancy-related needs conflict with working conditions and benefits.

Enacted in 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act banned employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. More than 35 years and several laws later, we’re still grappling with how to apply that edict to the realities of today’s workplace. As more women juggle pregnancy and childbirth-related issues with the demands of their work, employers must navigate some highly personal personnel issues.

Originally published on on June 13, 2014.

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