Employment claims filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act here in Wisconsin often involve accusations of discrimination in hiring, advancement or other work-related activities. Discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace is often subtle--such as the failure of an employer to provide a worker with accommodations that would aid in his or her abilities to do a job, for example. A lawsuit that was recently filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a division of Wal-Mart involves allegations of very egregious ADA violations.
In 1978, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to make it illegal to discriminate against pregnant women in employment and in other areas. Nonetheless, 35 years later expectant women in Wisconsin are sometimes docked pay because of their pregnancy; they are refused promotions due to pregnancy; and they are sometimes even fired for requesting maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In other cases, women are sometimes refused employment because of the possibility that they may become pregnant.
When people hear the word "discrimination," they likely think about prejudices related to things like race, gender, nationality or sexuality. A lesser-known form of employment discrimination may be on the rise.