Recently the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) publicly-announced that it was targeting pregnancy discrimination and highlighted four (4) pregnancy discrimination suits it had filed on behalf of women who allegedly suffered from pregnancy discrimination. The EEOC also highlighted the fact that pregnancy discrimination claims had risen 23% from 2005 to 2011. Prior to that headlines were made when Yahoo’s new chief executive, Marissa Mayer, gave birth to a baby boy, but the headlines presented both positive and negative thinking on whether the proverbial glass ceiling had been raised.
The New York Times recently published an article in their op-ed section discussing women who conceal their pregnancies until the best possible time and the many challenges pregnant women continue to face in the workplace and Congress' recent action in introducing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act into the Senate. The Act would require employers to offer workplace accommodations for pregnant women, like exempting them from duties that involve heavy lifting and offering them plenty of water breaks, among other things — the same sort of accommodations offered to disabled workers. Currently pregnant women are to be treated no differently than any other temporarily disabled person in the workplace (though pregnancy is not considered a disability under the law).