AKRON, Ohio. While we have heard recently about sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace, what has not been discussed as openly is the real challenges that working mothers face on the job. Working mothers face many implicit and explicit biases—from employers worried that women are more concerned about their pregnancies than their jobs to employers firing workers who are pregnant. In a week where Harvey Weinstein has been finally arrested on charges of rape, the culmination of backlash that started with women speaking out against sexual harassment they faced while seeking work from the man, it may be a good time to focus on the challenges that mothers face on the job.
Mothers can face many biases from employers. While hiring teams are not permitted to ask women whether they have children or plan to have children, employers may try to find ways to find out whether women have children by asking other questions. Women may face bias on the job for having children. For example, not all employers are flexible if a mother needs time off to care for a sick child. Worse, some women might be passed up for promotions merely because of the perception that they are more interested in family life than their job.
According to the New York Times, bias against mothers is so pervasive that women may even engage in the bias. In fact, it may be bias against mothers, not just bias against women that fuels the difference in pay that men and women receive. Women who are perceived as being mothers may receive $11,000 less in pay than equally qualified candidates and they may be less likely to be offered a job than women who are childless. Fathers, on the other hand, are perceived as more responsible and are actually more likely to benefit from having children both economically and in terms of job offers.
What can you do if you feel that you have been a victim of pregnancy or gender discrimination? For one, you may have the right to sue your employer for lost wages and back pay. Know your rights. If you were fired shortly after becoming pregnant or later in your pregnancy, keep documentation of your performance. Did you employer have a good reason to fire you? You may be entitled to seek justice.
Unfortunately, American law doesn’t require companies to offer paid family leave and few jobs offer it.
Why aren’t more mothers fighting back against discrimination? It isn’t clear. Some believe that women may rationalize being passed up for a promotion with the idea that they can have more time for their kids. Other women may simply be too exhausted to fight back. If you believe you have faced either sexual harassment or discrimination on the job because you are a mom, you have rights. The Law Offices of F. Benjamin Riek, III are employment lawyers in Akron, Ohio who may be able to help. Visit us at https://www.ohioemploymentrights.com/ to learn more.

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