Women in today’s society want to have a career as well as a family, but there was a time when if a woman became pregnant, she had to quit her job. There was also the possibility of being fired by her employer once they knew she was pregnant. Many women kept their pregnancies a secret for as long as they could just to hold onto a job. This is starting to become an uncommon practice.
Women are continually entering the workforce in numerous areas with the same potential and qualifications as their male counterparts. For women, trying to find employment while being pregnant can be extremely frustrating and difficult. Sadly, a woman’s odds of being hired while pregnant are slim to none even though the firing practice is uncommon. Women have a fundamental right to have a family as well as a career. This is where the Pregnancy Discrimination Act comes into play. This paper will discuss the importance of this act and how it should be properly used.
Explanation of the Act and Its History
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is an amendment to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision, 2008). Under the act, an employer cannot legally refuse to hire a woman if she is pregnant unless her condition makes it impossible for her to perform the major functions of the position. It is illegal for an employer of 15 or more employees, to discriminate against a person because of pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related conditions (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2014). This means that employers must treat pregnancy the same way they treat any other temporary medical disability.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not require favored treatment for pregnant employees. The act states that employers should treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees who are similarly placed based on their ability to work (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2014). Until 1978, there were incidences where employers would fire women just because they were pregnant. Women would also be passed over for a promotion because they were of childbearing age. Pregnant women could be forced to take a leave of absence or resign because of their temporary condition and employers did not have to provide disability or medical coverage for their pregnancy.
It was no surprise when discrimination of this sort finally reached congress. The court had to choose between the employer's granting a benefit and imposing a burden on pregnant employees. The imposition of a burden would create an unlawful employment practice under Title VII. Under this interpretation, an employer could grant a male worker employment benefits that it would not provide to a pregnant female employee. As a result, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978.
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision ruling that pregnancy discrimination was not sex discrimination, Congress passed the amendment to Title VII of the...