We’ve discussed frequently how much of a problem pregnancy discrimination continues to be. Some women may lose their jobs or slowly lose more hours because employers cannot seem to handle having a pregnant worker on the staff. Unfortunately, even if you manage to go through the whole process and face no consequences during your trimesters, you may not quite be safe yet.
Breastfeeding is a controversial subject in the workplace as new mothers and employers often argue what privileges should be granted after the baby is born. Some managers try to limit when and where the employee can use the pump, leading to less food for the baby and various medical problems for the mother. The issue is worse than many people realize, as a recent collaborative report showcases what happens to many new mothers when their boss goes against them for breastfeeding.
How many mothers suffer?
The report is titled “Exposed: Discrimination Against Breastfeeding Workers” and was made by staff members of the Center for Worklife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. In the report, they highlight what new working mothers need to breastfeed comfortably, what employers have done to discriminate against it and what laws they violate in the process.
They ultimately found that most of the breastfeeding cases that end up in the courtroom were because of a major loss of some kind. According to the report, nearly 75 percent of the cases involved economic loss and 66 percent were from job loss. Mothers lost their positions or had their hours reduced from disputing the restrictions with their employer or simply just asking if they can spend time using the pump.
Noticeably, they found that the more common cases of breastfeeding discrimination were in male-dominated industries. Some of the job fields they mentioned included first responders, construction, public safety engineering and welding. They provide several examples of women harassed, threatened and treated unfairly by their male coworkers.
Will it change in the future?
Last year, California passed Assembly Bill 1976 to help clarify how California employers can help their maternal workers find the right area to use the pump. If an employer fails to follow this regulation and cannot prove that doing so would be “an undue hardship,” then the workers will have an easier time taking their case to court to recover from their losses.
However, the report mentions that California and a lot of other states still have a long way to go before the female workers can feel truly safe. While this new law is a great step forward, it will take a lot more to eliminate discriminatory practices against newer mothers in the workplace. Workers who lost their jobs or most of their income through their employer’s unfair practices should seek legal help to ensure a safe recovery.