More Than Hollywood Taking Note of the “Baby Bump” — Pregnancy Discrimination Claims on The Rise

Page D1 of today’s Wall Street Journal reports that:

A spike to record levels in pregnancy-discrimination complaints to regulators suggests more women are speaking up about suspected workplace bias.

Pregnancy-bias complaints recorded by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission surged 14% last year to 5,587, up 40% from a decade ago and the biggest annual increase in 13 years.

And that “may be only the tip of the iceberg,” an EEOC spokesman says. The agency also received 20,400 pregnancy-bias inquiries at its call center last year, the center’s first full year of operation; that doesn’t include thousands more walk-ins asking about the same topic at fair-employment offices. An advocacy group, 9to5, National Association of Working Women, also is seeing an increase in pregnancy-bias calls on its hotline.

I have seen a huge surge in pregnancy discrimination claims in my practice as well. The WSJ attributes the groundswell to “both changing demographics and a new activism among mothers.” Employees’ awareness of the law in this area may have been further heightened by the EEOC’s Guidance on Discrimination of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, issued in May of 2007. The EEOC’s guidance devoted considerable attention to pregnancy discrimination claims.

I will be speaking on pregnancy discrimination at several upcoming seminars. Click on the links to learn more about opportunities to learn on this important topic: Pregnancy in the Workplace: Manage FMLA, ADA, and PDA Issues Audioconference on April 8 – learn about pregnancy discrimination from the comfort of your own desk! The Advanced Employment Issues Symposium on September 25-26 in Las Vegas, and October 16-17 in Nashville, TN offer additional opportunities to learn more about pregnancy discrimination.