Something They Don't Want Us to Know
Think you're getting shut out of prime work assignments because you have to do school pick-up?
Have a feeling the "boys" are getting more parenting-credit at the office for going to a soccer game than you are for pediatrician's appointments?
If so, you may be able to hold your bosses legally accountable.
There's been increased attention in recent months to the so-called "opt-out" phenomenon -- professional working women supposedly abandoning the workforce in droves for full-time mommydom.
Authors, publicists and headline writers seem anxious for us to believe that the choices professional working mothers make are entirely ours -- that somehow, as women, we just can't help ourselves and must succumb to our hormones and inner nurturers while jettisoning our entire pre-maternal lives, and that the realities of the workplace are not a factor in fashioning our lives.
But here's a surprise. One government agency is looking at whether parents -- mostly mothers -- are treated fairly as employees at the office and, if not, what legal recourse they have.
I have to admit, I was surprised when I came across the "Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities" issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (I know that's a mouthful, but I couldn't resist sharing the incredible bureaucrat-ese!)
The EEOC says if you've been discriminated against because of your caregiving responsibilities or parental status, you may be able to take your boss to court.
Why haven't we heard about this before? When I accidentally came across it, I did a news search on the Internet to see what others had written about it.
I found three stories.
But an even bigger question in my mind is, what prompted this type of hearing?
I can't come up with a good answer because something like this is pretty inconsistent with the views of the Bush administration on the rights of employers vs. employees.
But it's still good to know that, at least for the moment, there's someone out there that believes that this type of caregiver discrimination exists and that someone might have to be held accountable for the mommy-track other than media-driven mommy guilt.