It is important to note that Equal Employment Opportunity laws or EEO laws play a major role in ensuring the prevention of discrimination and marginalization of specific groups when operating in a labor market. They are essential in advancing civil liberty and justice across all industries and organizations, and their impact goes beyond one’s ability to be employed. Personally, one of the most interesting and surprising equal employment opportunity laws is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
I should state that I was aware and familiar with a multitude of EEO laws. However, I was not familiar with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act since I assumed that it was something that impliedly came with the achievements of the feminist movements. It is stated that the act “is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It makes illegal discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions as … sex discrimination” (Noe et al. 116). In other words, the given positive change against discrimination against women was an integral part of the Civil Rights Act. Under this law, “an employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, a pregnancy-related condition, or the prejudice of co-workers, clients, or customers” (Noe et al. 116). The chapter highlights several cases where the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was against businesses and organizations that discriminated against pregnant women.
The main reason why the Pregnancy Discrimination Act surprised me was the expectation that it was either the inherent element of the Civil Rights Act or the feminist movement, but, in reality, it was a critical amendment. I fully believe that the law is effective in assuring equal opportunity based on my experience. For example, throughout my education, training, internship, and professional endeavors, I have encountered a multitude of pregnant women working for a wide range of organizations. The mere fact that I worked with them or observed them as well as remembered these individuals despite not knowing about the act shows that the law is functional and crucial to preventing discrimination. Thus, I am convinced that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is important and needed in order not only to protect mothers and pregnant women specifically but ensure gender equality. Women are already being subjected to gender inequality in terms of the pay gap, harassment, ceiling, and, lately, abortion rights. The impact of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is significant in promoting and advancing gender equality.
In addition, it is not difficult to imagine why an employer would be eager to discriminate against pregnant women and women in general. The capitalist market incentivizes efficiency and profit, and pregnant women require some form of leave from their employment duties, which an unethical employer can use as a deciding factor when hiring. The only assurance that such discriminatory behavior does not take place on a widespread scale is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Therefore, it is not only needed but essential to protect women and promote equity, and its absence would hurt even more an already vulnerable female population.
In conclusion, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was the most surprising law, which I was familiar with since I assumed that it was inherent to the other laws covered in the chapter. The act was an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents any discrimination based on pregnancy, motherhood, and womanhood. Its role is essential to protecting not only mothers but all women from unethical, discriminatory behaviors of employers, who would be eager to do so if given a chance.
Noe, Raymond, et al. Human Resource Management: Gaining a Competitive Advantage. 11th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.