It might be the year 2015, but there is still a lot of unlawful discrimination going on in our world, even for pregnant women. In 2006, the EEOC actually received over 5000 complaints from new moms where they were having trouble at work because they were pregnant. But, in 2015, while this number has gone down, it’s still quite a problem and is still quite prevalent in the workplace. There are laws that keep you safe, however, but sometimes it’s less about complaining about being treated unfairly and more about knowing your rights. If you are pregnant or you want to know more about pregnancy discrimination, continue to read below for more information.
The EEOC or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was developed and created through the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, it has a mission that has been shaped by numerous pieces of legislation. It may have seemed to start simple enough but over the years many laws and amendments have continued to expand the role, responsibilities and authority of the EEOC. There are many pieces of legislation that make up the employment protection laws of the United States.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the EEOC is a federal agency which has the responsibility of enforcing federal laws which prohibit discrimination of any kind in the workplace. Employment laws are in place which make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or an employee based on the individual’s color, race, gender, state of pregnancy, religion, age (40 years old and above), national origin, genetic information or disability. Retaliation against a person who complains about or reports discrimination, files a discrimination claim, or participates in an investigation about employment discrimination is also prohibited. Most employers who have a minimum of 15 employees must abide by EEOC laws. In age discrimination cases the company has to have at least 20 employees. Most employment agencies and labor unions are covered by EEOC laws as well. Discrimination laws are applicable to all kinds of work situations such as hiring and firing, harassment, wages, benefits, training and promotions.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment which is a form of sexual discrimination. It is prohibited by law to harass an applicant or an employee based on their gender. Harassment can include a wide variety of actions such as unwelcome sexual advances, asking for a sexual favor, and many other verbal, non-verbal or physical actions that are of a sexual nature. However, even offensive remarks that are made about a person’s gender or sexuality can be considered sexual harassment. It is prohibited to make offensive remarks about women in general or men in general. Victims may be either male or female and victims do not have to be of the opposite sex. As a general rule, the law does not deal with incidents where there is simple teasing, silly comments or isolated incidents that do not escalate. However, when harassment becomes severe and creates a hostile work environment or an offensive work environment then the law is there to protect workers. A harasser can be a co-worker, an employer, supervisor, or even a person who is not employed by the company like a customer.