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Florida parents may face workplace discrimination

Balancing family life and work life is a struggle felt by parents everywhere. While some companies in Florida may have amazing policies that benefit working parents, others may not. It is a sad reality that both men and women are facing workplace discrimination issues simply for choosing to have a family.

Discrimination against pregnant workers is a growing issue across the country. These women who may, at times, need small accommodations to maintain the health and safety of not only themselves but their unborn children. They are sometimes subject to what is called a pregnancy push-out. This is when employers simply choose not to make accommodations for pregnant workers, instead forcing them from their jobs for the inability to perform. This trend has been devastating to numerous women and their families who were dependent on that job to survive.

Nationwide, more fathers have also taken on greater roles as caregivers in their homes. With this has come a need for paternity leave and other workplace accommodations for greater flexibility. Unfortunately, too many fathers are afraid to ask for accommodations due to a fear of being penalized or being viewed as unable to perform their job. However, with this shift of fathers' roles in the home and the economic need often requiring both parents to work, equal workplace protections for both men and women are needed.

While becoming a parent is a choice, it doesn't mean these employees have to put up with workplace discrimination issues. Many of the accommodations asked for by pregnant workers are similar to those granted employees with disabilities, and parents needing a flexible schedule to tend to children are really no different than students needing scheduling preferences to attend classes. Employees in Florida, who feel they have been subject to discrimination in the workplace due to their parental status may be entitled to pursue legal action against their current or former employer. Successfully litigated discrimination claims can result in monetary compensation for any loss in wages or benefits and even the ability to regain employment if desired.

Source: NBC News, "Managing Pregnancy And Parenting In The American Workplace", Maria Shriver, July 30, 2014

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