Yesterday, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a Press Release regarding pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC is a federal agency that helps enforce laws prohibiting employment discrimination claims based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, and disability, as well as related retaliation claims.
The EEOC’s Press Release recognizes that “employers should not make decisions based on stereotypes and presumptions about the competence” of pregnant employees. But even though the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed more than 30 years ago, and “most pregnant women want and need to work,” pregnancy discrimination continues to be a major problem in the workplace.
The EEOC indicates that women make up 47% of today’s workforce, and are either the primary or co-primary breadwinners in almost two out of every three families. As a result, in the words of the Senior Advisor for the National Partnership for Women & Families, Judith Lichtman, “women cannot afford to lose their jobs or income due to pregnancy or childbirth.”
The Press Release notes that in addition to pregnancy discrimination, both male and female caregivers experience significant discrimination in the workplace. It recognizes that these forms of employment discrimination are becoming bigger problems, and that parents are struggling to balance their obligations at work with their obligations to their families. As I discussed in a previous article, in 2009 the EEOC issued guidelines regarding Discrimination Against Caregivers. The EEOC’s Press Release promises to “vigorously enforce the anti-discrimination laws as they apply to pregnant women and caregivers.”
If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination or gender discrimination at your job in New York and New Jersey, please call us at (973) 744-4000 or (973) 744-4000 to discuss how our employment lawyers can help you enforce your legal rights.