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The pregnant worker dilemma

Workplace discrimination comes in many forms, from the subtlest type of excluding some affected employees in work discussions to blatant racism and ageism.

It’s nothing new and broad efforts over several decades at the state and federal levels have attempted to bring fairness to the workplace for everyone. These laws and regulations have the best of intentions.

Yet, in 2014 there remains a very sticky issue that very few people want to talk about, and isn’t on the radar of most companies. That issue – the needs of pregnant workers and new mothers – is a lingering form of gender discrimination that never seems to go away.

A study for the National Partnership for Women & Families shows that women in their child-bearing years face workplace obstacles that either employers are unable or unwilling to resolve. And, in many cases, these women don’t speak up because they are afraid of repercussions.

Some of the partnership’s findings were:

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they either worked for someone else or were self-employed during their pregnancy.

Seventy-one percent said they needed some minor adjustments on the job to protect their health during pregnancy. Most often it was the need for more frequent work breaks once they become pregnant.

Yet 42 percent of those women never asked their employers to accommodate them. Many of those said they either weren’t sure how to ask for accommodations, or they feared repercussions, refusal, or uncertainty about how their requests would be received.

More than one in four new mothers reported experiencing bias from their employers due to perceptions of their “desire, ability, and commitment” to doing their jobs.

Fifty-eight percent of new mothers said breast-feeding upon their return to work had been a challenge.

“The experiences of pregnant women and new moms across the country demonstrate that not enough is being done to ensure that the nation’s workplaces have the basic policy standards necessary to prevent discrimination and promote the cultural changes America’s women and families need and deserve,” says Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said 47 percent of the nation’s workforce was composed of women. A large percentage of that population is in the child-bearing years.

“At a time when having a job during and after a pregnancy is a financial necessity for many women and their families, the data and experiences of mothers show that much more needs to be done to ensure fair and supportive workplaces,” Ness said.

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Comical and clinical

“I would rather not”

Workplace discrimination comes in many forms, from the subtlest type of excluding some affected employees in work discussions to blatant racism and ageism.

It’s nothing new and broad efforts over several decades at the state and federal levels have attempted to bring fairness to the workplace for everyone. These laws and regulations have the best of intentions.

Yet, in 2014 there remains a very sticky issue that very few people want to talk about, and isn’t on the radar of most companies. That issue – the needs of pregnant workers and new mothers – is a lingering form of gender discrimination that never seems to go away.

A study for the National Partnership for Women & Families shows that women in their child-bearing years face workplace obstacles that either employers are unable or unwilling to resolve. And, in many cases, these women don’t speak up because they are afraid of repercussions.

Some of the partnership’s findings were:

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they either worked for someone else or were self-employed during their pregnancy.

Seventy-one percent said they needed some minor adjustments on the job to protect their health during pregnancy. Most often it was the need for more frequent work breaks once they become pregnant.

Yet 42 percent of those women never asked their employers to accommodate them. Many of those said they either weren’t sure how to ask for accommodations, or they feared repercussions, refusal, or uncertainty about how their requests would be received.

More than one in four new mothers reported experiencing bias from their employers due to perceptions of their “desire, ability, and commitment” to doing their jobs.

Fifty-eight percent of new mothers said breast-feeding upon their return to work had been a challenge.

“The experiences of pregnant women and new moms across the country demonstrate that not enough is being done to ensure that the nation’s workplaces have the basic policy standards necessary to prevent discrimination and promote the cultural changes America’s women and families need and deserve,” says Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said 47 percent of the nation’s workforce was composed of women. A large percentage of that population is in the child-bearing years.

“At a time when having a job during and after a pregnancy is a financial necessity for many women and their families, the data and experiences of mothers show that much more needs to be done to ensure fair and supportive workplaces,” Ness said.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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