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Laid Off – and Pregnant

The scary meeting request went out, and had us all of us fretting. One of my pregnant colleagues was especially grim. “You'll be fine," I reassured her, “They don’t lay off pregnant women.” (She didn’t know it yet, but I was a few weeks behind her in my own pregnancy).

You know where this is going, right? Our whole team was laid off, even though 2 of the 6 were openly expecting. Think pregnancy offers you job protection? In this economic climate, think again. I used to believe even the perception of discrimination would prevent employers from pink-slipping a prego, but with whole departments being axed, as they are so often these days, the bump offers little protection.

Anyone who loses their job gets screwed but for pregnant women the effects can especially devastating. They may lose their insurance at a time when regular prenatal care and hospital stays are a must (how much is that epidural, doc?). A big belly presents an obvious disadvantage at job interviews. And even if a new job can be secured, without enough time to accrue 12 months of employment at a new company, FMLA job protection and paid maternity leave are not a given.

Do you think pregnant women deserve special job protection, or should they have to fend for themselves like anyone else? Take our poll, and then tell us why in comments.

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