A recap of yesterday's EEOC meeting on pregnancy discrimination

February 16, 2012
By Eric B. Meyer on February 16, 2012 7:00 AM | | Comments

babyhospital.jpgMy loyal readers know that yesterday the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a public meeting to discuss pregnancy discrimination and caregiver issues.

Conversely, my disloyal readers can go to hell. No, no, I forgive you. Just send me a check and we'll call it even.

*** Takes meds ***

*** Flashes Men In Black red light ***

Ah, yes, pregnancy discrimination. Click through for a summary of what happened at yesterday's EEOC meeting...

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Overall, ten people spoke at yesterday's meeting, ranging from doctors, to professors, to government employees, and finally, the lawyers.

Incidentally, I got one for you:

What happens when a lawyer is made godfather?
. . . He makes you an offer you can't understand.

Ba dum tish...

I digress. You can view the transcripts here. And below are some of the meeting highlights, per this EEOC press release:

  • The past 40 years have seen a major increase in the number of women choosing to work while pregnant and during the later stages of pregnancy.

  • Women are now the primary, or co-primary, breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families.

  • A Commission panelist emphasized that employers "should not make decisions based on stereotypes and presumptions about the competence and commitment of these workers. EEOC will vigorously enforce the anti-discrimination laws as they apply to pregnant women and caregivers."

  • Another panelist recounted the story of a pregnant worker who was not permitted to alter her uniform due to her pregnancy but forced to take leave when it no longer fit her.

  • A union official noted that while pregnancy and discrimination arising from caregiving impacts all segments of the workforce, low-wage workers are particularly affected.

  • A professor opined that there is a measurable "motherhood wage penalty" of as much as 5% per child, controlling for education, experience, and other factors known to affect wages.

  • One VP of Human Resources who spoke, commented that even employers that want to provide the maximum flexibility possible within the constraints of their businesses have trouble reconciling the requirements of the various laws affecting caregiving. She called for greater clarity and interagency coordination to help employers comply with the law, and implement best practices for work-life balance.

Although no one spoke yesterday about the recent TX federal-court decision in which the court held that "firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination," I would be surprised if the EEOC fails to appeal that to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.