Women and pregnancy in the workplace

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allie hard hat#standwithpeggy has put working pregnant women in the spotlight recently. But what’s all the hype about? Apparently, a UPS Worker was upset because she was informed by her doctor that she would be unable to perform her job duties at work (lifting heavy weights). Instead of offering her different duties to perform, UPS decided to put her on leave. Peggy, the UPS worker filing the lawsuit, felt she should have been offered the opportunity to continue to work in a different department, like those who are on disability are allowed to do within the company.

Here’s the kicker, I’m all about women being treated equally and fairly, particularly pregnant women who chose to continue to work (I was one of them.) However, I have a hard time stomaching the thought that pregnancy should be considered a “disability.” Don’t get me wrong, while being nine months pregnant during a hot Texas summer, I had wished I had a handicap placard to reduce the amount of waddling time. That would have been a luxury not a necessity. Even terming pregnancy as a “temporary disability” would be difficult to handle. However, despite the difficulty with labeling and terming, pregnant women should be allowed every capacity, by their employer, to continue to work.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 established non-discriminatory laws that would prevent a pregnant woman from work discrimination. The newest #standwithpeggy lawsuit would readdress these laws and consider imparting additional amendments that would clarify and addresses these new concerns.

What do you think? Am I being too sensitive about the use of the word “disability” associated with pregnant women in the workplace? Do you agree that pregnant women should be treated equally? Are any of you tradeswomen who have been subject to this type of discrimination? Please sound off in the comments and share your opinion about this difficult and sensitive matter.

Allie Perez is director of operations, Mr. Plumber / Mr. AC, San Antonio (http://www.mrplumbersa.com). Her interesting viewpoints on the trades can be found on her blog at http://www.mrplumbersa.com/blog. She also is founder of Texas Women in the Trades (TWIT). Visit texaswomenintrades.com.

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