Beware! Getting pregnant can get you fired
I've always thought the U.S. is not a very friendly place for pregnant working moms. I remember finding out I was pregnant with my second child shortly after accepting a new job and dreading having to tell my new boss. Even though it was a part-time job and I didn't have any benefits, I wasn't sure how revealing my news — which I was extremely happy about — would affect my position. So I waited a good while, pretty much until I was showing, before I finally told him. Luckily, everything was okay. I'm sure he wasn't happy he was going to lose me so quickly after I had started, but he never showed it.
Unfortunately, not every pregnant working woman fares so well.
Take the case of a woman in Connecticut who instead of being offered maternity leave, was asked to resign when she revealed she was pregnant. Yes, she'd only been working at the company for four months and so she wasn't eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act.
Sadly, she's not alone. According to Dina Bakst, a lawyer and founder/president of A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center who recently wrote on an Op-ed for The New York Times, thousands of pregnant working moms are fired in the U.S. The reasons range from having to take too many bathroom breaks to having to refrain from heavy lifting. Are they for real?
Why does having a baby have to be seen as something punishable? I really don't get it. Sometimes I wished we were more like other countries when it comes to pregnancy and working moms. In Sweden, for example, parental leave is seen as an integral part of promoting and supporting a healthy society. All working parents are entitled to 16 months paid leave per child and the cost is shared between the employer and the state. In an effort to make sure both parents are involved, a minimum of 2 months out of the 16 has to be used by the "minority" parent, which is usually the dad. Now, how cool is that?
Back in the U.S., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is scheduled to host a hearing about pregnancy discrimination this month. Let's pray they realize that pregnant women should be treated how they deserve.
What do you think about how pregnant working moms are treated in the U.S.? Have you ever faced discrimination because you were pregnant? What do you think of Sweden's parental leave laws?
Image via chrismar/flickr