Pregnancy discrimination is illegal. But it still happens all the time.

Pregnancy at work
In this photo illustration, a pregnant woman is seen at the office work station.
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

On the presidential campaign trail, Sen. Elizabeth Warren often tells about the time she was fired from a teaching job once it was revealed she was pregnant. It sounds like an artifact from a less-enlightened era.

But when her claims were challenged last week by a conservative media outlet, she took to Twitter to point out that pregnancy discrimination is still a real threat. She urged other women to share their stories.

And respond they did — thousands of women shared their accounts of being fired or forced out once they got pregnant. Some even said they were passed over for job opportunities or promotions because their supervisors were worried they might become pregnant.

It’s technically against the law. Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978. But as Warren writes, “We know it still happens in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.”

On Thursday morning, we explored what the law says. Guest host Tiffany Hanssen was joined by two experts in pregnancy discrimination to talk about the legalities involved versus the lived experience for many pregnant women in America.


  • Joan Williams, is a distinguished professor of law, a Hastings Foundation Chair and the founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law

  • Katherine Goldstein, an award-winning journalist who is an expert on working mothers and the creator/host of The Double Shift podcast

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.