Pregnancy is hard enough on any woman but imagine working long hours without the proper benefits and workplace accommodations you deserve. It might be the reason why women are choosing to delay pregnancy. Pregnant women not only have to deal with growing a human being inside of them, but they also face hazardous working conditions and pregnancy discrimination. Society is making it hard to be a working mom, even more so a pregnant one.
Hazardous working conditions for pregnant women
The emotions of a mother affect the unborn child, and so do her work, diet and lifestyle. Not all women are fortunate enough to have desk jobs. Their work requires them to do physically strenuous tasks that involve standing for long hours, repetitive bending at the waist and even lifting heavy objects. Here are jobs that can be physically demanding on a pregnant woman:
- Nurses and other health care workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Service workers
- Flight attendants
- Child care providers
- Police officers
- Construction employees
- Agricultural workers
Physical labor can cause critical health conditions and even a miscarriage. Washington state laws require employers to provide reasonable work accommodations for pregnant women. The legislature also prevents employers from retaliating or taking adverse actions against pregnant women requesting such accommodations.
Workplace discrimination against pregnant women
On top of hazardous working conditions, pregnant women also face discrimination against their condition. Their employers do not give them the same salary as men with similar qualifications. Some employers deny maternity leaves or even force the expecting mother to take time off whether she likes it or not. They also refuse to promote a capable and deserving employee because that employee is pregnant or intends to become pregnant. Pregnant women also deal with harassment in the form of demeaning and mean-spirited remarks about their pregnant state. Pregnancy discrimination is illegal at the state and federal levels.
Women deserve to have a baby if they want to, and their job should help them support that baby. Fortunately, the state and federal governments designed laws to protect pregnant women and allow them to take action when necessary.