Pregnant workers face discrimination at many workplaces across the nation. This discrimination often comes in different forms, too.
One of many forms is “icing out” a worker. But what exactly does this mean?
What does it mean to be “iced out”?
Icing someone out essentially creates this toxic work environment. When someone gets iced out of something, it means that the other people actively refuse to include their target in group activities. This essentially turns the target into an “other” in their own group.
NPR explains the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which helps provide protection for pregnant workers in the workplace. This includes protection against the creation of toxic work environments.
How do pregnant workers get iced out?
In a job setting, this can manifest in the target not getting invited to off-the-clock hangouts with coworkers. Though these are not considered vital to the overall company, this form of bonding is often very important for the health of coworker relationships.
It can even escalate to the point where they do not get invitations to meetings that they should take part in, which can actively affect a pregnant worker’s ability to do their best at their job.
What is the goal?
Typically speaking, people attempt to ice out pregnant workers due to a misguided belief that the worker will quit after childbirth or stop giving the job their all.
Because it is illegal to fire a pregnant worker for being pregnant, this serves as a tactic to get the worker to quit due to the toxic and unpleasant environment she now works in.