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Chicago Tribune: Helping Parents is Good Business

As firms seek to attract and retain good talent, many are realizing that their ability to compete is based on work flexibility, wages, equitable pay, and mobility. However, this seems to be more true for small- and mid-sized companies; larger corporations place less emphasis on accommodating employees since their pool of available employees tends to be a lot larger. Virginia-based employment attorney Tom Spiggle, the author of the upcoming book “You’re Pregnant? You’re Fired: Protecting Mothers, Fathers, and Other Caregivers in the Workplace,” expresses that the country is still facing major problems with work discrimination:

Spiggle said that since 2008, there has been a “significant rise” in pregnancy discrimination claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “These are just the people that bothered to go to the EEOC and file something. For every one of them there are probably 10 who didn’t make a claim.”

Rather than waiting for lawmakers to mandate family-friendly workplace rules, Spiggle encourages people to make sure they understand the protections already in place. Things like the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (particularly as it relates to caregivers) and the Equal Pay Act.

Spiggle’s book, which will be published in September, provides a great overview of the laws, along with advice on handling instances of discrimination or unfair workplace treatment. This is not a book advocating frivolous lawsuits — it’s a thoughtful explanation of worker protections.

He also recommended the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (worklifelaw.org) as a resource.

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