Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

February-18-99

Mother Alleges Job Discrimination

New York lawyer Joann Trezza recently filed suit against her employer, The Hartford Inc. insurance agency, charging that her superiors repeatedly passed her over for promotions because she is married and has children.

Trezza charges that those promotions consistently were granted to either single women or men with kids, and that her supervisors claimed that women, and especially mothers, are not good planners. Trezza's lawyer Steven Eckhaus explained, "If you're a man with children, employers see you as more responsible more capable of doing your job. If you're a woman with children, many employers see it as a problem."

Although other parental-discrimination cases have been filed, they remain few, perhaps because most potential plaintiffs are not adequately protected under current discrimination laws. Only a few states and cities address familial status in their workplace discrimination laws, and federal law does not address the issue.

Since Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination based on marital or family status, many companies are free to discriminate with impunity. Firms that are suspected of discriminating against mothers more so that fathers could face sex discrimination charges, although this charge is difficult to prove.

President Clinton called on Congress to pass a federal law protecting caregivers from workplace discrimination during his State of the Union address last month, but tangible progress on this goal has yet to be seen.

Discrimination issues consultant Craig Platt says that he has frequently seen cases where companies grant positions requiring relocation and travel to single employees because it is cheaper to relocate a single individual than a whole family, and because employees with children are perceived as less flexible.

Judy Clark is the president of a national human resources consulting firm called HR Answers. She noted, "I don't know if it will ever be as blatant as, 'You've got kids, I won't hire you. It will be more subtle than that: 'You aren't working as hard; you aren't putting in the extra effort.'"

Donna Lenhoof, a lawyer for the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington, D.C., argues that effective discrimination law should test whether an employee made an "individual determination" about an employees' skills, or whether the employers' determination was based on an unfair assumption that parents are by definition less productive or willing.

Susan Meisinger, senior vice president of the Society for Human Resource Management, believes that the labor market is too tight for anti-parent discrimination to exist, at least on a large scale. "The whole trend has been for greater flexibility, and to allow for greater work-life balance," she said.

Media Resources: Christian Science Monitor - February 16, 1999


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

7/22/2014 Louisiana Pro-Choice Community Stands Up Against Operation Rescue - Saturday, Operation Rescue/Operation Save America launched an aggressive week-long siege against reproductive health clinics and abortion care providers in southern Louisiana. The annual siege is expected to run through Saturday, July 26, but already, several dozen Operation Rescue protesters have moved these forceful assemblies to doctors' private residences, riling neighbors in the process with their megaphones, explicit and invasive signage. . . .
 
7/21/2014 Detroit Maternal Death Rate Is Triple the US Average - Women in Detroit are dying from pregnancy-related complications at about three times the US average, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. Twenty-six women died in Detroit over the period 2008-2011 as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, and Detroit has the highest rate of infant mortality among major US cities, with 13.5 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. According to Dr. . . .
 
7/21/2014 White House: Corporations Must Inform Employees About Refusal to Cover Contraception - The White House clarified on Thursday that closely held for-profit corporations refusing to provide contraceptive coverage will be required to inform their employees. The clarification is a response to the Supreme Court's ruling in Hobby Lobby v. . . .