Sometimes I feel like we are living decades behind the times, where women could not vote, could not wear pants, or could not hold specific jobs.
No, we are in 2015. We have had the right to vote for almost 100 years, yet this month the Supreme Court of the United States denied a woman's petition against an employer asking for consideration because she was breastfeeding (Ames vs Nationwide).
I am not a lawyer but I have reviewed some articles on the case mentioned above. Ms. Ames was an employee of Nationwide Insurance and I believe she ended up resigning after going through some tough experiences with her employer regarding her return to work after having a baby (and taking FMLA). The Supreme Court didn't rule that she was discriminated against, but they do seem to infer that she could have asked for better accommodations from her employer before she left the company.
There are several articles about the case which are stating the Supreme Court ruled against her because men can also lactate - I don't agree with this assessment of the case, but I do feel Ames's pain - espeically with Nationwide.
Nationwide has a great slogan and most of us know it very well. "Nationwide is on your side" is the jingle which Peyton Manning hums during one of their commercials. They are the company that lit up the online world this past Sunday during the biggest television advertising evening of the year with a horrific commercial about protecting children from accidental deaths. Nationwide is the disability company that my employer contracted to when I had my first child in 2008, and Nationwide is the disability company that denied my disability claim for pregnancy when I was having contractions at work and my midwife asked me to stay home instead of working 40+ hours per week.
Their denial of my claim came the day my son was born - and it forced my employer to put me on "unapproved leave", which created a lapse in my medical benefits, my 401(k) allocation, even my bonus eligibility. I was asked to repay all my benefits - and the news came via email the day I arrived home with my baby. I felt that corporate America was punishing me for having a baby.
Thankfully my HR team (and my female boss, a fellow mom) were able to help me figure it all out after I returned to work. I consider myself lucky that I had such a supportive team around me to help me with the transition back to work, with the pumping schedules, with the missed time due to daycare closures/bad weather/child with an illness.
We women already earn less than men in the same positions. We work hard to juggle all aspects of our lives and we miss many childhood events for our babies so that we can sit through meetings, prepare presentations, and make customer calls for our employers. Is a little maternal support too hard to ask? Is parental support too difficult to provide? Should all of us moms just stay home and not contribute to the work force? I'm starting to think we are going backwards, and maybe we as American moms should think about sending a message to corporate America (and to our legislators) that we working moms, pumping moms, stay-at-home moms, all moms mean business.
Who's with me?