According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pregnancy discrimination complaints are up again this year – 10 percent higher from last – demonstrating a consistent rising trend since 1992. Jocelyn Frye, legal and public policy director at the National Partnership for Women and Families, explained, “The root cause sort of stems from longstanding stereotypes about women and particularly about mothers in the workforce, and I think those stereotypes die very hard,” reported the Associated Press. In the current struggling economy, statistics show other discrimination complaints have increased as well amidst the mass layoffs, including reports of age bias.
Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978 prohibiting companies with more than 14 employees from discriminating based on a woman’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The Act, an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, encompasses hiring, pregnancy and maternity leave, health insurance, and fringe benefits, according to the EEOC.