Women who want notes from their doctors regarding pregnancy must be very, very specific in what they want written down, according to The New York Times. Often, doctors’ notes result in job terminations for pregnant women. These notes, routinely written by doctors to request changes in work duties because of patients’ health concerns, play a key role in pregnancy-related equal opportunity cases. (In roughly 70 percent of these cases, a female employee was fired due to pregnancy-related concerns, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.)
The bottom line is (and Sophia Amoruso might know something about it) women can get fired for being pregnant. If their doctors’ notes imply that they’ll be unable to do certain parts of their job, such as heavy lifting, they could risk being placed on unpaid maternity leave. This was the case with Peggy Young, a former employee of the United Parcel Service. Her doctor’s note stipulated that she not lift more than 20 pounds; she was placed on unpaid leave and sued UPS for discrimination. Her case was reinstated by the Supreme Court.
So how do you write the best doctor’s note? “The emphasis should be kept on the employee’s ability to work,” Ms. Gustafson, Young’s lawyer, says, “rather than primarily on the inability to do some aspect of the job.”
This should not be happening to any pregnant women. I can’t help but think that if men could get pregnant, it wouldn’t be happening at all.
Image via atelier.net