• Inverse Relationships
  • March 10, 2005
  • Law Firm: McGlinchey Stafford, PLLC - New Orleans Office
  • The birth rate in the U.S. is declining, but the number of women claiming they've been discriminated against on the job because of pregnancy is soaring. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows a 39 percent increase in pregnancy discrimination claims between fiscal years 1992 and 2003. During that same period, the birthrate dropped 9 percent. Pregnancy discrimination suits are outpacing the rise in sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims, and come from a range of women from those in entry-level jobs to those in executive positions.

    Some claims rise out of honest mistakes by employers, as they face the numerous laws covering pregnancy and FMLA leave. While the federal laws that bar pregnancy and sex discrimination cover only employers with 15 or more employees on the payroll for at least 20 weeks, other laws protect employees at small companies. Many state and local anti-discrimination laws and ordinances are broader than federal law.

    Employers point out that many overlook the high costs of productivity loss connected with the birth of a baby. Pregnant women counter that they have been denied positions and promotions, unfairly fired, and in some cases even urged to terminate pregnancies in order to keep their jobs. Of note is that today more women of child-bearing age are in the workforce, and more women are having children at points in their lives and careers when there is more at stake financially.