How I'm Fighting Back Against Pregnancy Discrimination
Jennifer Maudlin, a single mother of two, was working for Inside Out, a religiously-based community center. Jennifer claims that Inside Out fired her in September 2012 after she told her employer that she was pregnant and in her third trimester. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Ohio have filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on her behalf.
Like a lot of women, I'm both a mother and a worker. Before last fall, I cared for my son, worked hard to keep my family afloat, and went to college. It isn't easy being a single mom, but I had gotten us off welfare and I was building a life for me and my son. Then, last fall, when my boss found out that I was pregnant, I was fired.
I was working at a Christian-based community center in Springfield, Ohio called Inside Out. I was a cook. Over the years, I saw other single women get fired when they got pregnant. They were scared, so they tried to hide their pregnancies as long as they could. It's terrible that someone would have to be frightened about something like that, or have to hide it. What kind of a world is this?
I can tell you that I just want to be able to work a decent job, and be able to get my family into a decent house in a decent neighborhood, and to provide for them. My goals in life have been really clear especially since my very first child, my daughter, passed away. I was working before my daughter's birth, but when she was born with heart and lung problems I needed to be by her side in the hospital. So I left work. That was when I had to go on welfare.
Later on, I was relieved to finally have a source of income when I was hired at Inside Out. But then they fired me for being pregnant, just like they've fired other women. Now I have a five-year-old son and a new baby, and no job. I have a degree in medical office administration and I'm in college, but I can't find work. By the end of this month, I won't be eligible for welfare anymore. What will I do then? Honestly, I don't know.
In America, women have the right to be treated equally with men. Some people might say that it's a sin to be a single mom, but I don't think God would throw someone in the street for being pregnant and unmarried. That's why I asked the ACLU for help taking legal action against Inside Out. I'm fighting back against discrimination, for myself, and my kids.
Have you been discriminated against by a religiously affiliated employer or other organization? Tell us your story.