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Employers Still Discriminate Against Pregnant Women!

Updated on November 13, 2013

How my Journey Began

My Story

My Old Job.

This long and worrisome experience began at the job I'd held for about two years. I'd happily been working in retail. I loved my job because customer service gave me an unexpected sense of well being. I was also extremely good at it, as I occupied the number one spot between our two stores and hundreds of employees as top in sales. In addition, my customers wrote into the store about my service.

Starting Our Family.

As I moved farther into my career, I met my husband. He was considered an executive, and therefore we proceeded with caution. The two of us were pleased after announcing our relationship that everyone was very accepting. My manager told me it was okay as long as we weren't working the same department (which would have been impossible as he's not an associate). Our co-workers cooed about what a wonderful match we are. Then HR said that the policy was too vague and to proceed with professionalism. Overall, there were no problems and we proceeded to remain 100% professional while at work.

Time went on, and we moved from dating to engagement, marriage, and then we were expecting our first baby. At the same time I had just been promoted and in addition, I had expressed interest in management to which I was to be trained. My numbers and reviews remained up. All was well until about a month into disclosing my pregnancy. HR called my husband into the office. We were given a "choice" of him or I leaving the company. Within 3 days. They explained to him that corporate HR had decided to narrow in on the policy and that our relationship was against policy. We were shocked. He asked if we did anything wrong, as we never even spoke at work. The answer was no. Had anyone complained? No. HR simply narrowed down the policy. More questions rose in our minds and the minds of our co-workers. How could it be, we asked, that a sales manager is engaged to his associate and they have not had the same treatment?

None of the questions could be answered by the department. My heart fell that day. I felt all my hard work diminish as I turned in my badge. I thought of the paid maternity leave I would have gotten and worked so hard for. The raise that I was due to get by the end of that month. But more than anything, I couldn't help but feel my hope fade in the company I had thrown everything into. Life wasn't fair to us as a family, but there was nothing to be done.



Applications Get Us Called, Interviews Dismiss Us


Pregnant Woman Are Frequently Called in But Never Hired.

The application process is an interesting one. A professional must make a unique resume that sums up one's entire being on paper. The process is a circus act and the professional must be the animal trying desperately to learn the trick an employer is trying to teach.

In my opinion, resumes are useless. They can be faked. Written by anyone. What's important in the end is the experience. Experience cannot be faked as words and professionalism can. But nevertheless, they are important; they get the professional called. So when a pregnant woman goes to write her resume, she will most likely be called frequently by companies impressed by her experience. They haven't met her, they only see her desirable qualities.

My Experience has been the same time and time again. Three jobs come to mind.

In the first, I had a series of telephone interviews after a company I applied for contacted me. I had all the experience, and after my interview, they wanted me to come in a last time for an in person interview.

That day I arrived confident after being told over the phone how interested they were in me. I shook the woman's hand as my hopes fell. She looked straight down at my stomach. The rest of the interview she seemed bored and seemed to write only a portion of my responses. I knew, and a few days after, I got my rejection letter.

The second that comes to mind was a company almost exactly like my original job. The first interview went wonderfully. The woman said I was more than qualified and she would make sure I got the job. She showed me around the sales floor and introduced me to a few employees. On my way out, she informed me it was standard to have two more interviews then I would start my training. I left overjoyed, in my ruffled blouse that hid my growing belly.

My second interview with the company came a week later. I wore a loose shirt, but I could no longer hide my belly. The woman again shook my hand, and I found myself making eye contact to a woman looking at my stomach. Though she was kind, I knew. The interview was a joke. She said the last step was to speak to the store manager, and to expect a call in two days.

The call never came. I called every week for two months asking for the status of my application. I told them the manager was supposed to call my for my last interview. They could not tell me why he wouldn't call me back.

My third interview was my last hope and my dream job in special fashion. They paid minimum wage (a huge step down for me), but I was willing to take it to get my foot in the door. They called me a few days after I submitted my resume. I interviewed in a group with two other women: one very awkward with experience at a truck stop, and another young girl with a short tight skirt and bare legs. I knew I was that most qualified with 4 years related experience. While the other two struggled for answers, I steadily gave them. I knew all the terms for each fabric, the care involved, brands, designers, and more.

I knew it was over when we interviewed with the second manager. She asked when I was due and talked to me for about five minutes. She apologized for the short interview and said she'd be in touch. I got my rejection two weeks later.

Evidence


  • Sure, one could argue that these places didn't hire me because of my personality or I just wasn't a good "fit". Here's why that wasn't the case.
  1. They liked me over the phone. They told me how qualified I was an what a pleasure it was going to be to meet me. They even went as far as saying they already believed I would be a great fit.
  2. I was more qualified than other applicants
  3. I know I followed proper interview manners (thanking interviewer, dressing professionally, not taking out a cell phone at any point while waiting, ect)
  4. During my two interviews at the same company, the interview in which I hid my bump came up with a "you're hired", and the interview where I showed my stomach never called me back.

What's your opinion

Do you agree with most main points highlighted here?

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What Ends Up Happening

My Experience


After months of searching, I was hired on as a seasonal in a job that had nothing to do with my experience. I am paid minimum wage, and am given 8 hours a week. My pay is almost exactly four times less than what I was at previously. With no room for negotiation, I was forced to take the job, then leave it at the end of the season...right in time for my delivery.

Summary

Something should be changed. Already, America's women are very under valued. The system just doesn't work. We barely have time to heal after delivery. We are sometimes looked down on for taking leave. We aren't cut breaks reguardless of the many side effects of pregnancy. America can't afford to essentially fire pregnant women. I believe if we continue down this road, soon nobody will be having children but certain groups who either can afford children or really cannot (then they have lean on the government for support). In the end, we all just wish to be treated fairly, so why not strengthen the law?

By making the law more specific, we can eliminate the problem

The average american doesn't have the money to go out and sue every company that discriminates. So why not make pregnancy laws very clear, making companies abide by them in the first place. In turn, we will evolve into a society where a mother is supported and therefore yields thriving intelligent children? All together, a woman keeping her job/getting a job while pregnant can result in lower risk of health problems due to stress, higher level of care due to income, and provide better care for longer as she takes paid maternity leave in the crucial first years.

Thank you.

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    • profile image

      alexsaez1983 3 years ago

      I agree with you 100% on this article. I used to work in H.R. and one issue that came up when it comes to discrimination is pregnancy. In Canada, it can make things very complicated to turn down an applicant based on pregnancy. The problem is, how can you prove it? Any employer can B.S. a "reason" why they didn't hire a pregnant woman.

      It all comes down to cost. Most employers don't want to invest in hiring and training someone who they'll have to temporarily replace in a few months, or fork out maternity leave. From a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense. From a moral, legal standpoint, it's a horrible practice.

      From what I understand of American labor laws, Canada provides a more solid support system for workplace equality and safety.

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 3 years ago from Georgia

      While it does stink, businesses are about making money and training employees is expensive (so is maternity leave).

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