Report recommends steps to halt rise in pregnancy discrimination complaints.
Complaints of pregnancy discrimination rose 65 percent between 1992 and 2007, but a new report from the National Partnership for Women & Families hopes to halt and reverse that trend.
A sampling of the claims of pregnancy discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) during the 15-year period shows that complaints by women of color and those working in industries dominated by female workers fueled much of the increase. For example, claims filed from 1996 to 2005 by women of color jumped 76 percent, while claims overall increased by 25 percent. More than half the claims filed with the EEOC during that period were in service, retail trade, and the financial services, insurance, and real estate industries--where some seven in ten women work.
Overall, complaints filed by African-American women increased by 45 percent, by Hispanic women by 135 percent, by Asian/Pacific Islander women by 90 percent, and by American Indian/Alaska Native women by 109 percent. Thirteen states (Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, and Washington) and Puerto Rico saw increases of more than 50 percent in claims during this period.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), enacted in October 1978, outlaws employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. But according to the NPWF, the increase in complaints of pregnancy discrimination has far outpaced the increase in women in the workforce since the laws enactment.
The report includes recommendations to help employers, employees, and the EEOC address the increase in pregnancy discrimination charges and begin reversing the upward trend. A sample of the recommendations can be found in the accompanying sidebar. To view the full report, visit www.nationalpartnership.org.