Fired for Being Pregnant?

pregnant woman holding maternity leave sign

Last week I wrote about Yahoo’s newly hired chief executive, Marissa Mayer, who is pregnant and due in October.   Mayer’s story is particularly interesting because it appears that her pregnancy didn’t have any affect on her recent employment, and is not being held against her in any way.

While I am thrilled that when Mayer disclosed her pregnancy to the Yahoo board of directors she faced no repercussions, the same cannot be said for many pregnant women in the workplace.

Which is why I hope all moms will sign this petition urging members of Congress to cosponsor the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

You can access the petition by clicking here.

I never thought I’d be asking you to support this cause in these modern times. Despite Federal regulation, some employers are still firing pregnant employees for requesting simple accommodations, such as avoiding heavy lifting, staying off ladders, or sitting on a stool instead of standing at a cash register all day – or even taking extra water breaks.

I know what you’re saying, “Whaaa? Is this even legal???”

Yes, it is.

Even though the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978, pregnant women are still getting fired due to reasons related to their pregnancies and according to many judges, this is completely legal in certain circumstances.

Some courts have interpreted existing labor laws in a way that creates loopholes, letting employers refuse to accommodate even simple requests made by a woman to maintain a healthy, normal pregnancy. And while a handful of states have passed laws requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, many have not.

I think it’s time to close the loopholes to protect ALL pregnant working women!

Fortunately, right now there’s a law proposed to do just that: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (HR 5647), recently introduced in Congress, would require employers to make the same sorts of reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions as they do for disabilities, ensuring pregnant women can continue to do their jobs and support their families.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act already has over 100 cosponsors in Congress, but in order to move forward, it needs more. The more cosponsors a bill has, the better chance it has of passing and the sooner we can work together to keep pregnant women from being fired.

If you want to urge tour members of Congress  to support this bill, you can just click here –  it just takes a quick moment. You can even send a letter to your members of Congress after you sign the petition. Your letters will help build momentum in support of the bill.

Losing a job during pregnancy can have devastating consequences for women, their babies and their families. Many women who get fired lose their health insurance, as well as limiting family income during a critical time.

Women shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and the health of their pregnancies.

Have you ever experienced pregnancy discrimination?