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Reasonable accommodation: pregnant women in Wisconsin

Should a woman be treated differently in the workplace after announcing a pregnancy? The answer, of course, is no. Unfortunately, women are discriminated in the workplace for pregnancy all too frequently. As their pregnancy progresses, women in Wisconsin have the right to reasonable accommodation in the workplace and should not be subjected to pregnancy discrimination.

Recently, a female CEO wrote about her experience announcing her pregnancy and the course of action that she took to receive reasonable accommodation and bypass potential discrimination based on her pregnancy. She writes of her fears that her replacement during maternity leave may do so well that she would no longer be relevant to the company. When she was nine weeks pregnant, the women announced her pregnancy to the company chair, to which she received the advice that she only take six weeks of maternity leave.

This became a turning point as the CEO realized that she had to advocate for her baby as well as her job. She began to enact a plan to involve the entire company in her decision to take a substantial amount of time away for her maternity leave and to find her replacement. Although it was difficult and she faced varying degrees of opposition, the CEO opted to take a maternity leave for one year.

Wisconsin employees are covered under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act and employee rights are protected during pregnancy. There are several types of evidence that may lead to establish discrimination for pregnant women in the workplace, including poor treatment, limited career opportunities, and hiring and firing. Pregnancy discrimination should not be tolerated, and employees have the right to hold unlawful action accountable if reasonable accommodation is not made on the basis of pregnancy.

Source: The Guardian, A stay-at-home CEO writes: recruiting my maternity cover, No author, Oct. 1, 2013

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