Forced to Choose Between My Job and Starting a Family? Where's Congress When You Need Them?

Earlier this year, I wrote about being pushed out of my job because I was pregnant. It’s still hard for me to believe that I was put in the position of choosing between staying on the job while pregnant, and the health of my baby.

I have a good job at United Parcel Service (UPS) and had worked there for almost 10 years. I am a full time driver, and that work can be very demanding and strenuous. I often work up to 14 hours a day, and during the rush seasons, like Mother’s Day, the size and weight of the packages explodes. Despite that, I like my job and am glad to be able to support myself and my family.

But all of that changed when I became pregnant. When I learned about my pregnancy, I informed my supervisors. Because I was worried about the health of my pregnancy, I asked them, on numerous occasions, for a temporary light duty position. UPS told me that none were available. I was shocked because I know that UPS had offered temporary work assignments to several other people. In fact, when I was injured in the past, UPS allowed me to do light duty assignments like washing windows and administrative work.

I simply couldn’t understand why UPS wouldn’t make the same accommodation when the health of my baby was at stake. Instead, I was forced to leave work altogether for the duration of my pregnancy, even though I was willing and able to keep working.

 UPS Pregnancy Discrimination

Julie Mayer and her daughter.

This is wrong and unfair. UPS shouldn’t have made me choose between my salary and benefits and the health of my pregnancy, especially when they have the ability to provide me and other mothers-to-be with a temporary accommodation.

There are laws, like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibit sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy but some companies like UPS are ignoring the law. And that’s why we need the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (PWFA).

I’m glad to hear that the PWFA is being introduced in Congress next week and I hope every member of Congress will support it. This bill would allow women continue to do their jobs and support their families by requiring employers to make the same reasonable accommodations for pregnancy as they do when a worker is injured. It will make it crystal clear to employers that they can’t push women out of the workforce when they are pregnant.

A woman should never have to choose between earning a living and a safe, healthy pregnancy. Every member of Congress should co-sponsor the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Will yours?

Learn more about pregnancy discrimination: Sign up for breaking news alertsfollow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

View comments (6)
Read the Terms of Use

Anonymous

If you wish to invest time in starting a family then you need to face the consequences. You are not entitled to anyone's money - if you are not fit to earn money, you get none.

Anonymous

So when is congress suppose to vote on this again?

ἀλήθεια

I'm not against this -- I certainly support the principle -- but I don't really understand the argument of "Employers don't follow the law, thus we need... another law." What is different about the new law that makes it less likely to be unenforced than the old law? That should be the crux of the argument here, but instead it is just asserted in passing. How can anyone form an opinion about the new law without an answer to that question written into the article?

Easter Lemming News

That really should be discussed further, I also support this but what are the remedies under the existing law?

"I certainly support the principle -- but I don't really understand the argument of "Employers don't follow the law, thus we need... another law." What is different about the new law that makes it less likely to be unenforced than the old law? That should be the crux of the argument here, but instead it is just asserted in passing. How can anyone form an opinion about the new law without an answer to that question written into the article?"

Easter Lemming

I support this but what is the existing remedy under current law and why is this still an issue?

"I certainly support the principle -- but I don't really understand the argument of "Employers don't follow the law, thus we need... another law." What is different about the new law that makes it less likely to be unenforced than the old law? That should be the crux of the argument here, but instead it is just asserted in passing. How can anyone form an opinion about the new law without an answer to that question written into the article?" I strongly agree.

Anonymous

I'd start a family. Just yesterday I told my dentist I hated him. Kick up that rat memory and you will find where dentists are reputed to cause pain. Nope. Cauterize your entire genitals, for I have a child and...I think you are gay. Get circled.

This credible threat is brought to you coutesy of love. Well!

Stay Informed