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What is the “ice out” tactic?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnant workers make up a portion of the workforce that faces an unfair and continued rate of discrimination to this day. This happens in spite of many attempts at a legal level to put a stop to this behavior.

“Ice out” tactics continue to be a prominent tool used when discriminating against pregnant workers. But what exactly is it, and why is it used against them?

EEOC pregnancy discrimination guidelines

The U.S. EEOC discusses pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. In many states, laws already exist which disallow an employer from firing an employee just because they happen to expect a child.

However, many will attempt to find a way around this by essentially forcing the employee into such a miserable position that they end up quitting on “their own terms”, despite the fact that it is essentially forced. They will often do this via a tactic called “icing out”. This involves slowly and continually removing the worker, from work activities both on and off the clock, until they feel distinctly alienated and uncomfortable.

The process of icing someone out

It may start innocuous enough, such as people not inviting a pregnant worker to a party due to the presence of alcohol. However, it will increase in severity as time goes on, and sometimes grows incredibly obvious. Employers might also stop talking about things they previously mentioned, like the possibility of raises or promotions.

So why does this happen? Unfortunately, many employers still believe that pregnant workers will either leave work entirely after giving birth or that the quality of work they produce will drop significantly. This leads to an unfair bias and desire to get rid of the worker at all costs.

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