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Another case of potential workplace discrimination based on pregnancy

Last time, we wrote about a mother who was allegedly fired from her workplace because she wanted the option to pump breast milk at work. Another example of potential workplace discrimination based on pregnancy or sex has recently reached the headlines. Worker advocates say the woman's case is an example of the inconsistent enforcement of pregnancy discrimination laws.

The 41-year-old mother began working as a chiropractor at a small practice in January 2006 and in February of the next year she informed her employer that she was pregnant. After informing her employer of her pregnancy, the woman missed 11 days of work because of an extreme form of morning sickness. The mother attended multiple doctor appointments and made numerous trips to the emergency room because of the condition. However, after she provided her employer with medical documentation and informed her employer she would like to come back to work at the end of March 2007, her employer told her not to return.

Within days of speaking with her employer, the mother's health benefits were cancelled and she was sued by her employer for allegedly violating her 4-year employment contract. The mother sued her former employer for pregnancy and sex discrimination and said she lost more than her job over the issue.

The woman also lost her marital home and was forced to move into her sister's basement. Since being let go, she has not been able to find a position similar to the previous one. She said, "No woman should ever have to lose her job, insurance and career because she gets pregnant."

Experts say that even though more women today work late into their pregnancies they still face hang-ups and barriers in the workplace. Being pregnant in the workplace can be like performing a tightrope act.

Source: abcnews.go.com, "New Jersey woman alleges pregnancy discrimination while EEOC calls for updates to laws," Susanna Kim, Feb. 16, 2012

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