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Maternity Leave Can Result in Negative Work Consequences

The law doesn't always protect pregnant women from losing their jobs. Many employers will find loopholes or excuses to dismiss pregnant women or new mothers from jobs, even if they are long-term employees. Meanwhile, the women who do return to their jobs waiting for them may have difficulties catching back up on work they missed during maternity leave.
December 4, 2020Updated 2 months ago
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Maternity Leave Can Result in Negative Work Consequences
While an employer is not allowed to legally fire someone simply for taking maternity leave, many employers seem to find loopholes to do just that. Women are then put in the impossible position of losing their jobs just as they might need the income more than ever: while starting a new family. Just this summer a former SoulCycle employee sued the company, claiming she was fired for taking maternity leave. Jordan Kafenbaum, the former senior director of instructor programming and talent management of SoulCycle, says she was fired just 32 days after giving birth. In her lawsuit she described her termination as “blatant pregnancy discrimination and retaliation.” Her case is just one of many similar ones that happen all the time, at companies both big and small. Another case that took place in recent years occurred where a woman claims she was fired from her job at Ramsey Solutions in Tennessee simply for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Even for those women who are not outright fired, many return to an office where colleagues have taken over some of their responsibilities or clients. Research found that some women who take maternity leave may even find it harder to advance or get promoted after they return. Especially in high-powered jobs where the pace of work moves quickly, even a short few weeks out of the office can put women too far behind their male counterparts. This kind of lost income when it comes to being passed over for promotions can be both hard to measure and difficult to prove in a court of law, meaning that women have little recourse to protect themselves from it. Researchers writing for the Harvard Business Review found that both men and women held negative preconceptions when they saw that a woman had taken a long maternity leave. These slight perceptions can have major consequences: resulting in a woman not getting a job or not being promoted at a new job. As the researchers concluded: "Evidence from a variety of countries reveals that the longer new mothers are away from paid work, the less likely they are to be promoted, move into management, or receive a pay raise once their leave is over. They are also at greater risk of being fired or demoted."
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SoulCycle Is The Subject Of A Pregnancy Discrimination Suit
Former Ramsey Solutions employee claims she was fired because was pregnant
The Reality of Maternity Leave on Women's Careers
Do Longer Maternity Leaves Hurt Women’s Careers?

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