Employers choose to discriminate against pregnant women for a variety of reasons. They may be misinformed about what job duties pregnant women are and are not capable of; they may fear that pregnant workers will not return from leave fully committed to the job or they may be concerned about the image that a pregnant employee projects.
In one recent pregnancy discrimination case involving a model for the hit television game show "The Price is Right," the last rationale likely came into play when producers discriminated against the plaintiff and some of her co-workers. She was recently awarded more than $7.7 million in damages as a result of how she was treated.
The plaintiff, who is a former Miss USA, alleged that she delayed becoming pregnant after witnessing producers harassing models who chose to become pregnant while working on the show. When she did become pregnant five years ago, she was concerned about losing her job.
When she announced her pregnancy to producers, she was pressured into telling viewers that she was carrying twins on the air. She was then given fewer responsibilities and less on-air work. Tragically, one of her twins was lost due to miscarriage and the other baby was born prematurely and suffered from pulmonary complications.
While trying to care for her new baby, mourn the loss of her other child and lose weight in order to resume work, she discovered that she was no longer listed as a model on the show's website. She was then summarily fired from her job.
Thankfully though, justice was done in this case and this large judgment will hopefully inspire producers on this show and others to comply with laws protecting pregnant workers from discrimination.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "'Price is Right' Model Wins Discrimination Lawsuit," Eriq Garnder, Nov. 21, 2012