Center for American Progress

Combat Discrimination Against Pregnant Women in the Labor Market
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Combat Discrimination Against Pregnant Women in the Labor Market

We must fight discrimination against women, especially on account of pregnancy, by strongly enforcing our already-existing antidiscrimination laws.

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We must fight discrimination against women, especially on account of pregnancy, by strongly enforcing our already existing antidiscrimination laws. As U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawyers have noted, the current system may result in many employers engaging in discriminatory hiring practices without consequence due either to post-hoc justifications or underreporting. The courts have watered down our antidiscrimination laws over time, making it harder for employees to prove discrimination.

Congress must correct these mistakes and penalize any adverse job decisions prompted by discriminatory intent against pregnant women, even when combined with otherwise legitimate reasons. Employer actions that have a disproportionate effect on pregnant women also should be prohibited. Finally, Congress must ensure that the EEOC has the resources necessary to investigate and prosecute these cases and to educate women about what does and does not constitute pregnancy discrimination.

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