Working parents in California are not alone in their concerns about how their pregnancy and parenthood will be treated by their employers on the job. Even U.S. senators may have reason to share in these concerns as has come to light following the pregnancy of Sen. Tammy Duckworth, the first senator to deliver a child while in office. She may be prevented from participating in deliberation and voting during her parental leave as senators must be physically present in order to vote and children are barred from the floor of the Senate, unlike many other national parliaments.
Numerous parents face some of the same problems, such as a lack of a formal paid parental leave policy, but without the advantage of a senatorial vantage point. Parents may face workplace discrimination due to their pregnancy or their parenting role despite existing protective civil rights legislation like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Working parents can face severe consequences, including job loss, as a result of pregnancy and parenthood. For example, working fathers may be denied recognition of their paternal role and involvement in childcare. In other situations, working mothers are denied a clean and safe place to pump breast milk, forcing them to finish breastfeeding early or take leave from their jobs in order to feed their children in a medically recommended manner.
Workplace discrimination can prevent workers from advancing on the job, and in some cases, it can even cost employees their jobs. Whether they are facing pregnancy discrimination or discrimination on the basis of their sex, race, religion or disability, many workers may deal with unfair treatment, harassment or an unlawful hostile work environment. An employment lawyer may help workers defend their civil rights in the workplace and seek compensation for wrongful acts.