It’s an oft-repeated story by the Democratic candidate, but critics raised questions about her account. And then came the voices questioning the idea of pregnancy discrimination at all.
Maybe most women aren’t told straight out they didn’t get a job because they’re pregnant or may become pregnant. (Though that still happens, too.) And perhaps women aren’t typically fired because they are showing the signs of pregnancy or recently gave birth (typically). But there’s no shortage of women who are or may become pregnant who have to navigate the quiet discrimination that comes their way. Still. Today.
As illustrated on Twitter yesterday:
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.”
And yet, yesterday, after there were questions about the validity of Elizabeth Warren’s statement that she was let go from her teaching job when she was pregnant, there was a wave of skepticism as to the general validity of pregnancy discrimination.
But as many women know, hiding a pregnancy at work is no joke. And breaking the news to your boss often takes skill and fortitude.
Why? Well, here:
“Oh, yeah, it still happens, and that’s sort of crazy,” says Tom Spiggle, an employment lawyer in Arlington and author of “You’re Pregnant? You’re Fired!: Protecting Mothers, Fathers and Other Caregivers in the Workplace.” “We see fairly blatant pregnancy discrimination from companies that probably know better.” Of course, he said, the corporate world has “made great strides in acknowledging the needs of parents with children, both men and women. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”
His firm has had cases where a pregnant woman is offered a job, then comes into the office in person and the offer is rescinded without explanation. Sometimes, in good companies, Spiggle said, a manager “goes rogue” and denies a woman a promotion or job because she’s pregnant or may be. That manager worries that his team won’t hit certain numbers or goals if she goes on leave. And more often, Spiggle sees women who have always had good reviews, constant raises and promotions — until they become pregnant. Suddenly, he said, she is not good enough, given poor performance evaluations and put on notice.
“Some companies just haven’t gotten the memo,” Spiggle says. “They know they’re not supposed to discriminate on the basis of race … but they don’t perceive pregnancy or child care as a potential class.”
Of course, there are many companies that not only do as the law says but also know that doing so pays off in the right hire and some good publicity. For instance:
See how that works? Win. Win.