Keeping a job when you're pregnant isn't easy, especially if your boss isn't understanding or knowledgeable about the law. But today there are laws that protect women from being fired or discriminated against simply for being pregnant.
Yet the problem persists. Today, companies large and small continue to be accused of discriminating against moms-to-be: There were 6,119 complaints filed in 2010, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and complaints are up in recent years.
So what would you do if you witnessed pregnancy discrimination that was blatant, degrading and completely indisputable?
Our story began at the Empress Diner in East Meadow, N.Y. We had our actor, Mike, in the role of a discriminatory manager and two actors who were really pregnant, Mia and Lorraine, played waitresses.
"Mia, this pregnancy is taking a toll on you and you can't get the job done!" said the manager.
At first, it seemed people couldn't believe what they were hearing.
"This baby is causing all sorts of problems," said the manager as he followed the pregnant waitress around the restaurant, nitpicking at her every move. Once people realized what was happening, they spoke right up.
"Your behavior is a little annoying and inappropriate," said Margaret Geoghan. "Let me tell you something, you have never been pregnant."
Geoghan told the waitress she was livid and thought the manager should be fired. She asked to speak with the owner, who played along, and Geoghan told him if she ever saw the manager's face again she would not come back.
When we told her it was all a scene for "What Would You Do?" we realized we got there in the nick of time -- Geoghan said she wanted to strangle or hit the manager. But it wasn't the last time someone wanted to hit him.
As the manager began his antics again and berated Mia for being pregnant, a retired high school theater teacher made his way over. Alan Rothman told the manager that he was opening himself up to a federal discrimination lawsuit. He then told Mia that he would be her witness if she decided pursue legal action and that she should not put up with the manager's behavior.
Outraged by Pregnancy Discrimination: 'Hit First, Ask Later'
When we introduced ourselves, bystanders were relieved to learn the situation wasn't real.
"I believe in the American dream and part of that is fighting sometimes for what's right," Rothman said.
In another scene, our manager went at it again.
"You got to keep it going, we are running a business over here," he said. "Step it up or I will send you home.
Anthony Denardo, a former Marine, called over the manager and said he had an attitude problem that he should get checked. Denardo also told the manager he would not talk to his fellow Marines the way the manager was talking to Mia.
We broke out the cameras before things got more heated.
"I'm a former Marine and my trainer tells me, you know, hit first, ask later," Denardo said.
It was a good thing we came out when we did.
What would happen when the tables were turned and a pregnant waitressed blatantly used her pregnancy to goof off and avoid working?