New Investigation Shows the Devastating Effects of Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

Especially for women who have physically demanding jobs.
ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
Oct 2018
upset woman covering her face with her hands. Her hands have x's drawn on them.
Photo: Marta Hempel / Getty Images

Working while pregnant isn’t easy, especially depending on the type of job you have. While there are pregnancy discrimination rules for this reason, for some, it just doesn’t cut it. And its effects are devastating, sometimes even ending in miscarriage.

The New York Times recently investigated conditions for pregnant women working at a Verizon warehouse in Memphis. Many of these workers are accustomed to heavy-lifting roles on the job, while working in dangerously high temperatures, according to the report.

In 2014 alone, there were four warehouse workers who had miscarriages. “The women had all asked for light duty. Three said they brought in doctors’ notes recommending less taxing workloads and shorter shifts. They said supervisors disregarded the letters,” the investigation cites.

The report on the Verizon warehouse highlights just one of many corporate workplaces that doesn’t have pregnant women’s best interests at heart. While the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is meant to protect soon-to-be-moms, it often doesn’t do the job. And for many, the fear of losing their income is enough to scare them into not speaking to upper management.

One woman from Washington state was recently let go from her job due to her upcoming maternity leave. Although at first she was afraid to speak up, once she shared her story with others it led to public attention and change.

In 2018, a woman’s pregnancy or motherhood journey shouldn’t come to an end because of her job. A supportive work environment is key for working moms, and we need all working mamas to be able to enjoy this peaceful professional environment.

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