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Pregnancy discrimination will increase by open questioning

Are the current restrictive rules regarding gender discrimination in the workplace in need of revision to allow the employer more flexibility in questioning? That issue, which is relevant in Michigan and other jurisdictions, was suggested by a recently published study of the Pew Research Center regarding millennial women in the workplace. The general conclusion was that millennial women suffer much less discrimination than their generational predecessors.

The study notes, however, that millennial women are very concerned about the issue of childbirth and what impact it might have on their careers. Pregnancy discrimination is strictly forbidden but hard to identify and stop. One commentator suggests that there is a silent kind of discrimination about pregnancy and child-rearing due to the current restrictive rules prohibiting any questions regarding children, family intentions, pregnancy plans and the like.

Currently, any employment decision with that information in mind would be illegally discriminatory. The critics say that a woman who doesn't plan to have children is being silently discriminated against because her intentions don't get to the employer. They say that an open conversation between employer and prospective employees regarding the person's future would be helpful and work against discrimination.

Otherwise, a silent discrimination occurs because the employer must conclude that a female is probably planning to have children. It's easy enough for the employer to choose a male applicant in that situation, without having asked any taboo questions. As for the female who wants children, the view is that telecommuting and other options can be openly discussed to avoid employment problems.

It seems fair to say that the this new viewpoint is unsound and flawed with respect to Michigan law and elsewhere. An open questioning system would give the employer a wide field to work his discrimination and civil rights violations. The women who are not going to have children may be helped but the effect on others who are not so sure could be devastating. The current laws protect all applicants, and accentuate that employers must eliminate discriminatory classifications completely from their values and cultural terminology.

Source: The Daily Beast, Are Anti-Discrimination Laws Working Against Millennial Women?, Keli Goff, Jan. 13, 2014

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