As if it isn’t bad enough that out of 178 nations, the United States is one of three countries that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave benefits, apparently pregnant women aren’t allowed to be gainfully employed. Somehow I’m not surprised that this is hardly mentioned in the ongoing political “war on women” talks that has persisted on Capitol Hill. Aside from the following story of pregnant women being kicked to the curb, I found this tidbit over at Think Progress to be quite interesting:
American women are offered 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which exempts companies with fewer than 50 paid employees, but in 2011, only 11 percent of private sector workers and 17 percent of public workers reported that they had access to paid maternity leave through their employer. And for first-time mothers, only about half can take paid leave when they give birth.
At the same time that working women in the U.S. lack a benefit widely available across the globe, almost 50 percent of families had two working parents in 2010, and 26 percent of households were headed by single parents. Without guaranteed paid maternity leave, many of these working women face significant financial hardship by having to choose between their paycheck and their families.
Women are forced to put their careers and financial future at risk simply because they want to have children. During their pregnancy, they face being fired unfairly or not being able to properly care for themselves. They should not have to worry about making ends meet without paid maternity leave on top of that.
[...] Morris and Leeneeka Bell, who says she was fired by the Emergency Communications Center after her pregnancy left her on bed rest, announced their plans to file a lawsuit after the EEOC finding. Their attorney, Lisa Millican, says this is a clear-cut case of discrimination.
OK, so about that “being fired unfairly,” thingy:
(Reuters) – More than three decades after Congress passed a law trying to protect pregnant women in the workplace, discrimination is still widespread and needs to be combated with publicity and clearer guidelines, according to testimony Wednesday at a federal hearing.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s legal counsel, Peggy Mastroianni, said the agency had resolved 52,000 pregnancy cases since 2001, with $150.5 million paid out in damages.
Discrimination against pregnant women includes firing, forced leave without pay, being denied a place to pump breast milk and being barred from some work, witnesses told the five-member EEOC panel at a hearing on the issue.
Decades after the passage of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, discrimination ranges from the shop floor to the executive suite, with sexual stereotyping a major factor. It is found in every state, but is more likely to hit women in low-income jobs, they said.
[...]The Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids discrimination by employers based on pregnancy, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments and promotions. Under the law, pregnancy is considered a temporarily disabling condition.
Yep, and you thought the so-called “war on women,” was just about birth control?
Two former Fulton County 911 operator trainees plan to sue the Georgia county, claiming they were fired for being pregnant.
One of the women secretly recorded a conversation she said she had with the director of the Emergency Communications Center, during which she asked for her job back after being fired.
In the recording obtained by ABC News, a person identified as department director Angela Barrett repeatedly refers to Que’ana Morris’ “situation” as the reason for her firing.
[...] Morris says in the two months before she was fired, she missed 16 days of work on doctor’s orders over complications with her pregnancy. She says she had permission to miss those days for medical reasons, and that it only became a problem after she was already fired.
I don’t know, but this seems like all types of wrong to me. What’s next, people getting fired for being a certain race? I know, I know, I know: something like that will never happen here in this country; but, this firing pregnant women thing is just ridiculous. But hey, maybe it’s a Georgia thing. According to another recent story, it’s okay for a cop to kick a pregnant women in the stomach.