A recent online article stated that the mother is the primary breadwinner in more than 40 percent of American households with children. Many women find it challenging to attempt a balance between caring for their home and family and holding down a paying job outside the home. Under certain circumstances, such as during pregnancy, that challenge can become magnified, especially if a woman feels that she is being treated unfairly by an employer because of her state-in-life. One North Carolina mother experienced this and has since sought workers' compensation and back wages to which she believes she is entitled.
The 27-year-old mother of three was employed by a nursing home. In carrying out her usual duties and care of patients, she would often have to lift them. During her pregnancy, her doctor reportedly advised her to stop lifting the patients until the baby was born. Hence, the young mother asked her employer to provide lighter duties in keeping with her physician's orders. She claims that rather than granting her request, her employer stopped scheduling her altogether.
The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act guarantees pregnant employees the same rights as those who have short-term disabilities. Reports show that there has been a 43 percent rise in pregnancy-related complaints to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 1997 and 2011. The young mother stated that her employer's alleged unfair treatment caused her family great hardship.
An attorney representing the woman asserted that her client should not have been made to choose between following the orders of her doctor and coming to work. The mother in this case has a formal complaint pending which, if successful, will allow her to benefit from workers' compensation coverage and back wages. Professional legal teams in North Carolina are available to advise any woman who has found herself in a similar situation at work.
Source: CBS News, "Woman takes pregnancy-related discrimination complaint to Supreme Court", Jan.14, 2015