Pregnancy bias can be costly

Assistant Foreman Harry Swank was in the office when Maintenance Clerk Clara Rice was informed by her doctor that she was pregnant. Swank shook his head. "Evans is going to be fit to be tied when he hears about this." Rice frowned.


Assistant Foreman Harry Swank was in the office when Maintenance Clerk Clara Rice was informed by her doctor that she was pregnant.

Swank shook his head. "Evans is going to be fit to be tied when he hears about this."

Rice frowned. "I'll have to tell him. If I don't, he'll find out soon enough."

Swank shrugged.

Rice, who was unmarried, had received "Outstanding performance" ratings throughout her 2 yr of em- ployment. When she informed Jerry Evans of her pregnancy, the foreman didn't conceal his annoyance. He asked her a series of personal questions relating to birth control measures used, how her parents felt about the pregnancy, if she knew who the father was, and what role he would play. Rice left the office in tears.

At a performance review the following week, Evans reduced Rice's rating to "satisfactory," and made a notation: "Pregnant out of wedlock."

When her time came, Rice took advantage of the company's maternity leave policy. But when her leave drew to an end, she asked for an extension because of birth complications. The request was supported by a note from her doctor. When Foreman Evans denied the request, Rice made a tearful appeal to his boss, Plant Engineer George Abbott.

Question: In Abbott's place, what response would you make?

Abbott's response: Abbott not only granted Rice's leave extension, but went a step further. Summoning Evans to his office he presented the foreman with the facts of the case as Rice had outlined them and asked him to confirm or deny them. When Evans lowered his eyes, it was answer enough.

Abbott's jaw tightened angrily. "Aside from the human and humane considerations involved," he said, "should Clara Rice take it into her head to sue the company for violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, she would have an excellent case for a fat award, not only for lost pay, but for punitive damages and emotional distress as well. If this is an example of the type of care and respect you have for your people, I can only say that you better be aware that your own career is in jeopardy."

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation modernization; Predictive analytics enable open connectivity; System integration success; Automation turns home brewer into brew house
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
Compressed air plays a vital role in most manufacturing plants, and availability of compressed air is crucial to a wide variety of operations.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me