Despite advances made to workplaces in many other ways, discrimination and harassment continue to exist and plague workers of all walks of life.
Pregnant workers in particular face discrimination before and after getting hired to work for a company. What forms does this type of discrimination typically take?
Discrimination in the hiring of pregnant workers
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission examines pregnancy discrimination in the modern workplace. Generally speaking, pregnant workers can face discrimination before they even get hired for a job. In fact, this discrimination can actually keep them from getting work they otherwise more than qualify for.
Many employers state that they do not wish to hire pregnant workers for the simple fact that they know said workers will take maternity leave sooner or later. On top of that, many “do not trust” that the pregnant workers will come back to work after the leave is over.
In some cases, these excuses are just thinly veiled sexist remarks. Some employers just do not believe that pregnant women should be in the workforce at all, and will go to extremes to ostracize these workers or keep them out of employment.
Forcing pregnant workers to quit
Even already-hired pregnant workers face discrimination on the job. Some may experience a technique called “icing out”, which involves treating an employee coldly but in an indirect way. The goal is to create such an uncomfortable environment that the victim ends up quitting of their own accord rather than getting fired.
Instances of harassment against pregnant workers are illegal, as pregnant workers are a protected class in most states. This means these workers can take action when necessary.