This Is How Employers Treated Pregnant Woman Before Maternity Leave Was First Introduced

This Is How Employers Treated Pregnant Woman Before Maternity Leave Was First Introduced

Being a pregnant employee is far from ideal, even now in 2018.

Working women were subject to all kinds of ill-treatment and were often fired for being pregnant before maternity leave existed. There are many proofs of this, and the latest example is a letter that was received by a woman that was employed at a school back in the 1960s. Her daughter shared it on the social media, and it’s pretty awful.

Her mother’s request for a leave of absence from teaching in 1969 was denied, and people from around the world are now talking about it. Michaela Cornell writes that her mom kept it as a proof of the bullsh*t women had to put up with.

“You’re pregnant? You’re fired!”

This is the letter:

Maternity leave was first introduced as a fully functional, legal plan for working mothers in 1971 in Canada (where Cornell is from), and, believe it or not, 1993 in the United States! Women and mothers have always been treated as disposable employees just for being women and mothers.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission drafted guidelines in 1972 that required employers to treat pregnancy disabilities (such as abortion, miscarriage, childbirth, and recovery) in the same manner as other temporary disabilities. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions was prohibited with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978.
Women from all around the world quickly weighed in on Cornell’s letter, and some of them shared their similar stories.

Even though working women who become pregnant are protected far more these days, there are still issues that need to be addressed. Many of the laws don’t stop companies from treating pregnant women differently or even firing them to this day.

We’ve come a long way in terms of maternity leave, but the reality is that we still have a long way to go.


I remember being interviewed for some receptionist job at some warehouse back in the mid 90’s. It was a whatever, receptionist position, minimum wage, part-time job. I think the position of receptionist might have been the only female position in the whole warehouse. The manager that interviewed me asked the strangest questions, things I’ve never been asked during an interview…”Are you married? Does your kids’ father live with you? Do you have a babysitter for your kids? What would you do if one of your kids got sick and couldn’t go to school? Are you wanting any more kids? If so, when do you expect to get pregnant? In order to do this job, you can’t get pregnant and you need to convince me that your kids will not interfere in you getting to work everyday”. I stopped the interview and walked out. I was clearly in the wrong place.

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