Being a mom is hard work. When you are a new mom, you have a lot going on. You are caring for a brand new baby that needs your constant care and support. It is your duty to bathe, nurture and nourish your child. For some mothers, this includes breast feeding your baby. Emotions can be high as maternity leave comes to an end. Going back to work may mean leaving your baby in someone else’s care for an entire day for the first time. You have to navigate those feelings, as well as plan for all of your baby’s needs.
Sarah was tired of seeing it happening. Her office was mostly men, and for the few women who worked there, it felt like something between an old boy’s club and a fraternity. When Sarah’s co-worker, Shelby, was pregnant, the men constantly commented on her burgeoning belly. They touched her stomach without permission and made crude jokes about how she had ended up “in the family way.”
Women of color in California and around the country often find themselves struggling to achieve professional parity with their white and male colleagues. Unfortunately, the reality of sexual harassment and racial bias can hamper these women’s efforts. Harassment and bias are realities in all occupations, including scientific fields. In a study, planetary scientists and astronomers who are also women of color reported high rates of harassment in their workplaces.
Depending on where they work, some California employees may find themselves staying later or working longer hours than they were originally scheduled to. If this work is unpaid or does not count towards overtime, it could potentially be illegal. Although there are a few exceptions, employers are responsible for paying their workers overtime if those workers work longer than 40 hours a week.
Many employers still don’t get it: women in the workplace have rights that cannot be ignored. When employers violate these rights, they can be held to account. It’s been three decades since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 went into effect. That law describes these things employers may not do to women employees who are pregnant: