Job-related claims of pregnancy bias on the rise

Samantha Stone, 29, would like to have a baby soon. But with the job market tenuous, being pregnant in the workplace has become much more risky.

Just look at the number of pregnant women who are blogging about job discrimination, filing lawsuits for unfair removal and turning to advocacy groups for relief after being targeted in job cuts.

Claims of pregnancy discrimination are on the rise, maternity leaves are a luxury and conducting a job search while pregnant is like trying to win the lottery.

Even more, many pregnant women are shocked to learn they have few workplace protections. Women swept into the layoff frenzy are discovering you can be fired while pregnant or on maternity leave.

In the tough economy, employers consider expecting mothers to be expendable employees, says Robert Weisberg, a Miami labor lawyer who represents victims of discrimination. ``In these times, pregnancy is viewed as a real liability.''

Weisberg says more employers consider new mothers less productive and don't want the disruption of maternity leave. ``Women are telling me they've been encouraged, coerced or told by their boss to have their baby and stay home.''

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