Workplaces not always friendly to new parents

Tennessee residents may have heard that a senator from Illinois is going to be the first women to give birth while serving in such a role. However, she may not be able to vote while she is on maternity leave. This is because a senator is required to be present to cast a vote, and children are not allowed on the floor of the Senate.

The issues that the senator face as a new mother are those that working mothers face in a variety of industries. This is in spite of the fact that legislation such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act exist. In many cases, workplaces are designed to cater to those who are either not pregnant or who aren't a child's primary caregiver regardless of that person's gender.

Employers may develop policies that treat pregnant workers differently than those who miss work for other medical reasons. Female dockworkers in one union face the prospect of their service time being frozen if they leave work because of a pregnancy. This is in spite of the fact that this doesn't happen for those who are off on military or other types of leave. In some cases, women are terminated because their employers won't reassign them while pregnant.

Workers who face discrimination or harassment because of a pregnancy may have grounds to take legal action against their employer. An employer might be held liable even if management is not involved in the harassment or is unaware of its taking place. An attorney may review a case in an effort to help an employee obtain a favorable outcome in a workplace discrimination or harassment case. A favorable outcome might involve obtaining compensation or other forms of relief as allowed by law.

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