Workplace discrimination complaints swell

Janet Babin Apr 17, 2007


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: America’s workforce includes lots of working mothers, but along with the increase in working moms is a rise in workplace discrimination against women and caregivers. The government is holding a hearing about that problem today. Marketplace’s Janet Babin has more from North Carolina Public Radio.

JANET BABIN: Under federal law, it’s illegal for employers to discriminate against women because of pregnancy and childbirth.

But in the past decade, the numbers of people alleging that they’ve been discriminated against because of pregnancy has risen steadily to 4,900. And pregnancy discrimination fines that the EEOC levies on companies have almost doubled to $10 million.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Stuart Ishimaru says some companies have dealt properly with gender issues, but others have been slow to adjust to more women in the workplace.

STUART ISHIMARU: Employers assume that women won’t want to do certain jobs because they have a child at home. They won’t want to travel, they won’t want to take on responsibilities. And the choice really should be hers.

The EEOC says pregnancy and caregiver discrimination are new issues that will get more scrutiny in coming years.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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