What Trump Means for Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

How the new administration’s policy might affect your pregnancy.

What Trump Means for Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

The new Trump Administration will bring change on many fronts, and policy around pregnancy discrimination in the workplace could be one of them. While the discussions around possible federally mandated paid parental leave have got women just about ready to pull the goalie, it’s also worth taking a closer look at what the workplace environment could be like for a working mama-to-be under President Trump.

“There could be some light at the end of the tunnel for parental leave, but for pregnancy, the story is a little bit dimmer,” says Tom Spiggle, an employment attorney and founder of the Spiggle Law Firm, who focuses on workplace discrimination and wrongful termination due to pregnancy and other family care issues.


Below, Spiggle outlines 3 things you need to know when it comes to pregnancy discrimination under the Trump Administration.

1. It’s not necessarily policy that will change, but priority given to women pursuing pregnancy discrimination cases. Spiggle points out two areas where Trump could make changes that would affect pregnancy discrimination negatively:

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Under the Obama Administration, the EEOC has had pregnancy discrimination as one of its priorities in its strategic enforcement plan. That means when the EEOC is screening cases and deciding where to put its resources, it would put a high priority on pregnancy discrimination. “I think we’ll see that evaporate under the Trump Administration, since as with most federal agencies, he’s likely to weaken the EEOC,” says Spiggle. Although the statute will still be there, and women can still pursue it, the EEOC could take on fewer individual pregnancy discrimination cases.
  • The Federal Judiciary: If the EEOC doesn’t take your case because it’s underfunded and overworked, the next step is filing in federal court. But with conservative appointees to federal positions, we’re likely going to see a Federal judiciary that may not favor civil rights causes of action, says Spiggle. They could be more hostile towards discrimination cases, or more likely to kick cases out before they get to a trial. So it’s going to be an uphill climb for women pursuing pregnancy discrimination claims.

Spiggle notes that some states (New York, California, and Maryland are a few) have laws that disallow pregnancy discrimination and enable women to bring claims to state court, which bodes well for working moms-to-be. But, he adds, “It’s a tale of two Americas. Most of these laws are in the blue states, while a lot of the red states don’t have those statutes.”

2. It could take a while for anything to change. Until Trump is in office, we don’t know what his priorities will be, but most suspect that employment issues may be lower down on his list. “I would not be surprised if it’s a year or more before we see a lot of movement -- it won’t be like flipping a switch,” says Spiggle. He speculates that Trump could first turn his attention to overturning recent regulations that greatly expanded the number of people eligible for overtime, which typically help pregnant women and families. But changes to the EEOC or Federal Judiciary won’t be immediate.

3. Brush up on the law, and protect yourself. Pregnancy discrimination happens more than you think, and it’s not always overt. Yes, women do actually get fired during pregnancy or laid off during maternity leave, but there’s also other more subtle forms of discrimination like “benign paternalism,” says Spiggle -- when your boss unilaterally decides that a work challenge is just too much for you in your pregnant state, or scales back on opportunities available to you.

“Most employers want to do the right thing,” and many HR departments have policies in place to protect you, he says, but “companies don’t always have the resources to enforce those policies.” Here are a few tips to help you protect and advocate for yourself during pregnancy:

  1. Do your homework. Know how your state law relates to pregnancy and maternity leave, and read your company’s handbook. Understand what your protections are.
  2. Be proactive about your pregnancy and maternity leave. Have the conversation with your workplace early and give your employer a plan as it relates to your pregnancy and maternity leave.
  3. Be prepared in case you do feel you are being discriminated against. There are so many good organizations that have resources that can help you, including A Better Balance and Work Life Law. Know what to look out for and what steps to take if you experience pregnancy discrimination.

Photography by Amy Frances for Well Rounded.

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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