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Some pregnancy and gender discrimination may not be so obvious

Women have fought hard for their ability to choose to be a mother and/or have a career. Some choose to focus solely on their professional development while others choose to focus completely on their children. What about that group in between who choose to find their own balance between both roles?

Missouri state and U.S. federal laws protect the millions of women who fall into this category from being discriminated against in the workplace for their choice. A more obvious form of discrimination is when a woman takes time off for maternity leave but upon her return, her employer tells her that her job is no longer available. But is most discrimination more devious than that?

According to recent studies, the discrimination is some of the least obvious but most damaging. The research showed women who are visibly pregnant and those who have "admitted" to having children are seen in a very different light. Women in these groups are seen as less committed to their jobs, les competent, less dependable, less dependable but more irrational. The true damage comes into play when these perceptions seep into the performance reviews, starting salaries, consideration for promotions and other special projects that boost many employees' careers.

What was a surprise was that while being a mother harmed the perception of a woman's ability to do her job, it wasn't the same if you were a father. In general, being seen as a father did not hurt a male's job performance perception. In fact, in many situations it actually benefited them.

Source: The Atlantic, "The Pregnancy Penalty: How Working Women Pay for Having Kids," Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Dec. 13, 2012

If you feel that you have suffered pregnancy discrimination or been treated differently due to your status as a mother or a woman in Missouri or Kansas, our employment law firm is on your side.

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