How Pregnancy Discrimination Hurts Your Business - Barrett & Farahany

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How Pregnancy Discrimination Hurts Your Business

How Pregnancy Discrimination Hurts Your Business

pregnancy discrimination

Let’s address the employers rather than their employees. Pregnancy discrimination, much like all other forms of discrimination, directly hurts your business. In fact, it can destroy your business if you allow discriminatory practices and rules to occur.

While Barrett & Farahany advocates on behalf of employees, our attorneys are here to share what employers can do to help make their workplaces more welcoming environments and how unlawful treatment, such as discrimination, can impact them.

The Prevalence of Pregnancy Discrimination Historically

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) makes it strictly illegal to discriminate against or fire someone based on their pregnancy. Yet, as many know, making something illegal does not stop an employer from doing it.

In 2015, it was reported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission that 54,000 women lose their jobs every year to pregnancy discrimination. Nearly ten years later, in 2022, new data showed that the estimation remained the same.

Like other types of discrimination, statistics rely only on reported incidents that meet the specified criteria. This does not count people who did not report discrimination or those who faced discrimination at work but were not fired.

Pregnancy Discrimination Today

Since the PDA was passed, employers have found it harder to get away with pregnancy discrimination. If an employer is caught, there are consequences, both legally and financially, but the threat of recourse is not enough. Currently:

  • Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) mothers are still considering leaving their jobs due to a lack of reasonable accommodations or fear of discrimination during their pregnancy.
  • 1 in 5 mothers (20%) say they have experienced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.

When this many women suffer discrimination in the workplace, having laws in place isn’t enough. It has to stop with the employer, but should an employer make this a priority?

How Does Pregnancy Discrimination Affect Your Business?

With the rampant sexism that pervades workplaces across the United States, would you be surprised to know that employers, on average, rate their female employees better than their male counterparts? In “‘Potential’ and the Gender Promotion Gap,” one of the authors, Danielle Li, found during her research that women scored higher performance ratings than male employees.

A good performance should logically mean that they are more likely to bring in or maintain the company’s flow of revenue. If a woman is pregnant and isn’t accommodated, how will they do that?

In 2022, nearly 70% of all pregnant women in the United States worked while pregnant. Many others couldn’t due to various factors, and their original employers likely lost out on a quality employee. But, losing a single employee to pregnancy discrimination is a short-term consequence. What are the long-term consequences?

The Long-Term Consequences of Pregnancy Discrimination on Your Business

Voluntary turnover rates, or people quitting their jobs, have gone up in the United States. As of the most recent records, it stands at 17.3%, which is not news to anyone who has heard the recent adage that ‘no one wants to work,’ in the wake of the “Great Resignation.” Employers cannot afford to be hemorrhaging employees, especially quality ones.

One employee quitting because of pregnancy discrimination is not a one-off issue. It’ll keep happening because no one wants to experience discrimination, leading your business to lose employees consistently.

And let’s say that no one ever files a lawsuit, or you never lose one. This doesn’t mean your reputation hasn’t been tarnished. Who will want to work for an employer who can’t provide basic accommodations for a necessary aspect of life? Who will want to operate in a workplace where discrimination against them is acceptable?

More importantly, how can a business thrive if its best employees never stick around? They don’t.

How Can Employers Help?

Employers should want to help because they have a clear business interest in keeping quality employees with the company. Sometimes, they will become pregnant, and then they need reasonable accommodations. The costs of these pregnancy accommodations are less than losing a quality employee.

  • Protected Employment: Women should not be worried about losing their position during their maternity leave. Their position or an equivalent one should be ready for them when they return from maternity leave. Layoffs and furloughs from economic downturns are exceptions.
  • Protection From Harassment: Being pregnant does not open anyone to harassment from co-workers and customers, especially not managers and supervisors.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Adjusting work schedules to accommodate medical appointments or allowing for more frequent breaks can help.
  • Modified Duties: If your employees are required to do strenuous work such as heavy lifting, allow them to take on lighter duties.
  • Remote Work Options: Working remotely allows pregnant workers to work from home and can allow them to get more work done when they don’t have to travel.
  • Parking Accommodations: If your place of employment has parking, giving pregnant employees designated parking to shorten their walk can help.

Contact Barrett & Farahany if You Need Help Fighting Against Pregnancy Discrimination

There are many things to worry about when you’re pregnant to make sure you and your child stay safe. Workplace discrimination should not be one of them, but if it is, you shouldn’t suffer in silence. You have options for legal recourse, and the pregnancy discrimination attorneys at Barrett & Farahany can help. Contact us today for more information.

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Barrett & Farahany

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Atlanta, GA 30326
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