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Cecely Rogers worked as a cosmetologist for retailer J.C. Penney at a Las Vegas store for two years. When Ms. Rogers relocated to Georgia, her employer indicated she was eligible for rehire.

In June 2010, Ms. Rogers was pregnant and applied for work as a cosmetologist at the J.C. Penney store in Brunswick, Georgia. Told she would not be hired because the employment supervisor hasn’t had much luck hiring pregnant women, Ms. Rogers was asked to return after she gave birth to be considered for employment.

Employment discrimination against a pregnant employee or applicant is illegal. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), complaints of pregnancy discrimination rose 65 percent between 1992 and 2007, with women of color suffering a disproportionate amount of that abuse.

Two-thirds of women are primary or contributing wage earners, yet pregnant women and women with children remain distinct targets of discriminatory practices in the workplace. An EEOC hiring study found women with children are perceived as less competent and less committed. Interestingly in the same study, men with children were oftentimes rated more favorably than men without children.

This motherhood penalty for women in the workforce is significant. Despite identical qualifications, women with children are less likely to be hired. When hired, wages are less and barriers to promotion exist in the time and days needed to care for a sick child or tend to family.

Termed the maternal wall, the lost jobs, wages and opportunities suffered by women caregivers represent discrimination in the workplace.

In the case of Cecely Rogers, the EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against J.C. Penney in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. If you suffer pregnancy discrimination or other unlawful practice in the workplace, contact discrimination attorneys at The Reddy Law Firm, PC.

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