When working women, the primary purchasers in our consumer-fueled economy, are without a salary because they've been forced to quit, are fired or are pushed onto unpaid leave, it negatively affects our economy and families' financial security.
There is no question that the authors of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act intended to prohibit unequal treatment for pregnant workers. No employer should be allowed to act as if it is exempt from the law.
During her pregnancy, Patricia Young's health care provider considered the question of whether she should lift heavy boxes and said no. Young asked UPS for an alternative assignment until after she gave birth, and they turned her down. (The company has since changed its policy.)
All of this recent activity is worthy of celebration. At the same time, it is deeply frustrating to be reminded that women and their families are still fighting unfair workplace practices that were outlawed decades ago.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued new guidance on pregnancy discrimination. The new guidance broadened the definition of pregnancy to include all aspects of the reproductive process, including contraception, termination of pregnancy, childbirth and post-birth.
Women's equality matters because every American deserves quality, affordable, patient-centered health care and efforts to provide that remain under attack, as does the birth control coverage and access to reproductive health services that women need.
A growing body of evidence shows that ensuring new parents and all workers have access to family friendly policies like paid sick days and paid family and medical leave has widespread benefits for the health and economic security of families and the strength of businesses and the economy.
So, although flowers, brunch and other gifts are a fine way to show the mothers in your life that you care, take some time this Mother's Day to think about the challenges facing America's mothers and families.
In most places in this country, it is perfectly legal for a company to pay an employee less, or even fire her, if she made no secret about the fact that she planned to prioritize her family and work fewer hours.
Pregnant women tend to be forced out of their jobs or fired because their employers refuse to make minor accommodations that would enable them to continue working. This discrimination is shameful and does real harm to women and their families at a time when they badly need wages.
As exciting as all the considerations may be, they often distract from the more daunting task of navigating the workplace while expecting: sad to say, this is the dark underbelly of pregnancy in the United States.
The arguments the archdiocese made in its attempt to keep the case out of court are a distressing example of the larger trend in "religious freedom" claims being made to deprive employees of the protections of the law.
These messages -- and they really only scratch the surface of the challenges America's working mothers face -- illustrate the incredible strength and resilience of mothers who hold jobs in this country. But they also reveal a stark and unacceptable reality