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Claire Danes finds accommodations for her pregnancy on "Homeland"

Prior to the passing of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, women could be fired for becoming pregnant. Discrimination laws have come a long way since then, but as some women discover, it can still be difficult to receive equal treatment in the workplace.

If only every woman were as lucky as Claire Danes. As the star of the hit show "Homeland," she may have felt some anxiety when she became pregnant during the show's filming. But she need not have worried- the show's producers were able to accommodate her pregnancy through clever costuming and carefully chosen camera angles.

Unfortunately, many women, especially low-wage earners, may encounter much more difficulty in their workplace. Although the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prevents employers from treating pregnant employees any differently, it does not force employers to make certain accommodations for pregnant women. This is a problem for many women, who may find it hard to get time off for doctor visits, receive less physically demanding assignments or get permission for periodic rest breaks.

In addition, some women may encounter additional, less obvious signs of pregnancy discrimination. When a woman becomes pregnant, her bosses will sometimes assume that she is no longer a "professional," that is, she is no longer dedicated to her career. Women in such a situation could see their hours cut, or even be passed up for a promotion. In some cases, pregnant women may be the victims of wrongful termination after going on maternity leave.

This activity is, of course, illegal, and anyone who suspects they may be a victim of pregnancy discrimination should contact an attorney for more information. Becoming a parent is a beautiful and life-affirming thing, and it should not be marred by the selfishness or mistrust of an employer.

Source: Philly.com, "Pregnancy discrimination: a real-world challenge," Bette Begleiter and JoAnne Fischer, Jan. 8, 2013

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