There is a great deal of illegal discrimination that occurs in the workplace. Some is inadvertent; some businesses fail to grasp the mandatory nature of the federal civil rights and employment laws, either because they do not believe they apply or because do not understand the requirements of the law.
Other employers are partially or wholly mendacious, attempting to skirt around and other times engage in blatant and outrageous conduct, almost as if daring an employee to try and assert their rights.
Sometimes, it can be depressing, seeing case after case where employees suffer illegal discrimination in one form or another.
What makes it most sad, is that it does not have to be this way. And some employers “get that.” they recognize that loyal, happy employees are likely to be the most productive, the best spokespeople for their products and likely to remain in their employ.
In an earlier post, we mentioned how pregnancy discrimination is alive and all-too-well in the workplace, with employers refusing to hire women who are pregnant and punishing those already working as a result of their pregnancy.
This contrasts with one company that has voluntarily chosen to offer 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. In addition, they will allow employees returning from maternity leave to work 30-hour weeks for up to six-months for full pay, as they adjust to their new role as parent.
One can only imagine the mock horror and outrage that would occur is something like this were required by law from the “business community.” What is puzzling in this country, for all the rhetoric about the family, how important, valued and significant it is, is how little is done, like this maternity leave policy, that actually provides genuine, concrete relief to parents beginning a family.
One only has to look at part-time wages and scheduling policies in most businesses to recognize how actively toxic they are towards anything family-related.
It is unsurprising that this enlightened leave policy model came from European countries, where companies are able to retain talent to a higher degree than in the U.S. One could hope this would become a trend, but don’t hold your breath.
The Washington Post, “An unusual new policy for working mothers,” Jena McGregor, March 6, 2015