What If Pregnancy Came With a Pink Slip?

"Sometimes the laws that are intended to help women like me actually end up hurting women like me. All of a sudden, a potential employer is looking at me and thinking, she just might turn around and sue us. That makes it less likely that I'm going to get hired," said Lukas.

And let's face it, she said, pregnant women can be costly for an employer.

"A lot of responsibilities are shifted each time I go to a doctor's appointment. That means I'm unavailable to do whatever work needs to be done during that time, which means one of my colleagues is often picking up the slack. It's an economic reality that there are costs for businesses for having pregnant women as employees," said Lukas.

Lukas said laws that deny that economic reality don't help working women.

Sanford doesn't deny that there may be costs involved with employing pregnant workers, but that doesn't give companies the right to not hire or fire a woman because she may become costly, he said.

Allowing the Job Market to Work

"If they do take that position, they'd be violating the law," said Sanford. "If companies lose money because of it, and they may, that's not necessarily a bad thing from a societal perspective."

But does society really need pregnancy discrimination laws? Lukas thinks the job market would work better without such laws.

"You don't have to hire me, and I don't have to work for you," said Lukas. "Plenty of employers would hire pregnant women. Women are incredibly productive members of the work force. We have a lot to offer. If an employer is going to discriminate against enough people, it's going to be bad for them in the long run. It's a bad business practice, and that's the best way to prevent discrimination."

For more information on pregnancy discrimination, visit the National Partnership for Women and Families home page and read its publication "Know Your Rights." Also see the pregnancy discrimination facts page of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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