What if you lost your job because you recently had a baby? Or, what if you did not lose your job, but you came back to work and faced inappropriate treatment by your colleagues? The truth is, this happens more often than people realize.
Times have changed for working women, but discrimination against new mothers remains in the workplace. Lawmakers created the Family and Medical Leave Act to help address this issue in 1993. Still, many new moms face career challenges when they start a family, regardless of the industry they work in.
Discrimination does not discriminate
FMLA violations vary. Some violations are more obvious than others. For example, in physically demanding jobs, women can risk losing their jobs when they ask for accommodations such as water or rest breaks. While these kinds of FMLA violations are more blatant, other industries see different kinds of violations. Discrimination tends to be more subtle in white collar environments. When it comes to corporate offices, employers may exclude new mothers from meetings, assignments or bonuses.
Discrimination wears many faces
Perhaps you are unsure if your employer has violated your FMLA rights. Has your boss ever discouraged you from having children or suggested an alternative benefit to FMLA leave time? An employer does not have to directly deny your time off request for him or her to be in violation of the law. FMLA lists six kinds of employer interference.
Discrimination has consequences
The law protects your rights as a new mother. It is never acceptable for an employer to ignore those rights. When employers do violate FMLA, they can face significant legal consequences. In the past, judges have served employers with heavy fines and other criminal penalties for violating U.S. labor laws. Back pay, attorney fees and liquidated damages are just some of the potential costs involved.
If you are a new mother facing discrimination, do not be afraid to stand up for your rights. You deserve justice.