U.S. working women filed 65 percent more charges of employment-related pregnancy discrimination in 2007 than they filed in 1992, according to a recent study.
Among the women of color who filed pregnancy discrimination charges, those filed by:
- Black women increased 45 percent
- Hispanic women increased 135 percent
- Asian/Pacific Islander women increased 90 percent
- American Indian/Alaska Native women increased 109 percent
Over half (53 percent) of the pregnancy discrimination charges came from within industries that collectively employ about 70 percent of all female workers in the U.S. That’s probably no surprise; however, it might be surprising to learn that the rise in charges far outpaced the number of women joining the workforce within the study’s timeframe, despite that the U.S. outlawed pregnancy discrimination way back in 1978.
Debra L. Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, had this to say about that: “It is truly sobering that, 30 years after our nation outlawed discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, so many women are forced to file complaints with the EEOC.”
The National Partnership for Women & Families, a non-profit Washington advocacy group, conducted the study by analyzing pregnancy discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the government agency tasked with enforcing Federal discrimination laws.
The advocacy group released the study results on October 29, 2008, two days before the 30th anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.
The longstanding anti-discrimination Act makes it illegal for employers with 15 or more employees, to demonstrate prejudice against employees and job candidates (including fathers) in any aspect of employment on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including abortion.
If you reasonably believe that you’ve suffered pregnancy discrimination by your employer (or a boss or
coworker), then you or your representative, such as your attorney, may file a pregnancy discrimination charge with the EEOC. In fact, you or your representative must first file a charge with the EEOC to later file a private lawsuit in court. Attorneys often take pregnancy discrimination cases on a contingency basis.
For more about the study, see the press release rather wordily entitled, New Study Documents Sharp Rise in Pregnancy Discrimination Complaints Driven by Discrimination Against Women of Color.