YourForce: What She Should Expect When She’s Expecting

By Mike Prokopeak

Feb. 22, 2015

“Congratulations!” or “That’s wonderful news!” Those are the responses you’d expect when an employee tells her boss she’s expecting.

But for some pregnant women, the answer is more like, “Get back to work.” That’s the issue at the heart of a case the U.S. Supreme Court is considering this year.

It’s surprising that employers are caught flat-footed when it comes to leave and work policies for pregnant workers. But that’s what happened to UPS. A delivery driver lost her job and insurance after being denied light-duty accommodations, and is now suing the company.

In defense of employers like UPS, which has since altered its policies, the legal requirements for accommodation are unclear. That’s why the highest court in the land finds itself deciding the issue. But making reasonable accommodation for pregnant workers shouldn’t be so unexpected.

Rewarded for Rewarding Experience

Amalgamated YourForce March 2015

Amalgamated Life Insurance Co. was a winner of a 2014 Communitas Award for its Amalgamated Life Good Neighbor Program in the Community Service & Corporate Social Responsibility category. Among other fundraising initiatives, the company held a holiday gift drive to benefit My Sister’s Place, a nonprofit that supports victims of domestic violence.

Pictured are members of Amalgamated Life’s Charity Committee with President and CEO David Walsh, top row, middle.

Reader Feedback

Readers reacted online to the January 2015 edition’s article “The Argument: Millennial in Training”:

DMT311 said:

Great article and discussion! As a textbook millennial who has been a manager in a corporate environment, tons of great points that I easily related to.

Sue Johnston responded:

Maybe I’m just a cranky old boomer, but part of this hypothesis only makes sense if we’re talking about workplaces based on the industrial model. You state younger managers will need to know how to ‘approve expenses, manage vacation requests, set up work schedules and conduct (performance) reviews.’ How 20th century. These issues are becoming less and less important as organizations embrace and move toward collaborative, self-organizing teams where leadership is not defined by position on the organization chart. You write that young people are good at ‘collaborating online and are comfortable in the more fluid corporate structures replacing traditional hierarchies in many organizations. They are prepared to take the initiative and rapidly form and reform teams to get things done.’ Shouldn’t we be taking advantage of that rather than trying to turn them into their grandfathers?

Jim Regan commented on Max Mihelich’s blog post “Every Job I Have Worked at Has Been Primarily White”:

Max, I appreciate your courage in raising this topic. I’m a white man also, and while I’m fortunate to work with many people of color in my government HR department, the technical jobs here are still overwhelmingly white. I think if we whites could be a little less defensive about the advantages afforded to us as a group, we could help create more opportunities for us to work and interact with people of all racial backgrounds.

Said Rodeo:

You state: “It’s a historical fact that blacks and other minorities in this country have been shut out of or had limited access to educational and employment opportunities, and other means of advancing in society — by government policy and/or straight-up racism by employers and schools.” Historical fact? How far back in history are you going? Opportunity

exists today for all who want it and are willing to work/sacrifice for it. Is there still racism in the workplace? Yes, and there always will be. Is racism institutionalized in the form of government-mandated policies or in most corporations? No.

Mike Prokopeak is Workforce’s editor in chief.

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