A recent report on the state of life in Tennessee emphasized the need to recognize and provide for the needs of working mothers. Nearly 55% of adult women in Tennessee are currently working or seeking employment. While workplace discrimination against women is prohibited by federal employment law, Tennessee comes up short in providing accommodations for working mothers.
Inadequacies that the report cited included lack of paid leave, lack of pregnancy accommodations in the workplace and lack of affordable childcare. These factors may serve as a deterrent to women who might otherwise join the workforce, or return to work, following a pregnancy. The report showed that Tennessee might add as much as $34 billion to its GDP by 2025 if more women enter the workforce.
The report comes at a time when many other states are considering such measures as paid leave and other accommodations for mothers in an attempt to retain them and attract them to entering the workforce. Many mothers in this day and age are single parents or the principal earner in the household. The lack of accommodations for women in the workplace may contribute to the 40% of women-led households in Tennessee that are living in poverty.
It is illegal to discriminate against a person in the workplace based on race, religion, sex or pregnancy. From 2012 through 2015, Tennessee ranked 10th highest in the number of pregnancy discrimination cases that were filed with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission. If a woman believes she is the subject discrimination she may wish to consult with an experienced employment law attorney. A lawyer can review the facts of the case and advise the client as to what legal options are available.