The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 seemingly prohibits companies from firing or laying off pregnant employees. As we’ve seen time and time again, however, employers continually find ways to operate on the wrong side of the law.
In April of this year, a former manager for Netflix, Tania Zarak, sued the company for pregnancy discrimination. She alleged that, after she told her supervisor that she was pregnant, he removed her from projects and stopped inviting her to meetings. She reported the behavior changes to human resources and was fired.
Also in April 2019, six employers formerly employed by the law firm Jones Day sued the company and alleged that it was common practice for the firm to lay off or demote women who had children because they believed that they were not dedicated to their jobs.
These might seem like isolated incidents, but they happen so frequently, many do not take notice when they occur. The Society for Human Resources Management reports that two-thirds of men and one-third of women do not take advantage of their employers’ parental leave policies, either because they are afraid that they will be punished for doing so, or they cannot afford to take that much time off of work.