Senator Elizabeth Warren is under fire for questionable claims of pregnancy discrimination in the past.
On the campaign trail, she said “back in the day, the principal did what principals did” in firing her for being with child, but other evidence has surfaced that contradicts her tale.
If it turns out that she, once again, claimed to be a minority and victim to score political points, then Warren has insulted moms everywhere, especially the real victims of pregnancy discrimination.
Getting fired for being pregnant is a real challenge that women face in the workplace, but it should never be used as an excuse for a lack of credentials.
Here’s the story…
During presidential campaign stump speeches, Warren has regularly shared her personal experience with discrimination in the workplace. She said that by the end of her first year as a public-school teacher, she was visibly pregnant and the principal wished her luck then hired another teacher to replace her (i.e., pregnancy discrimination).
Except, in 2007 she gave a different explanation of her separation from the school system. She said in a recently uncovered interview in which she explained her first job:
“I was married at nineteen and graduated from college after I’d married, and my first year post-graduation I worked in a public school system with the children with disabilities. I did that for a year, and then that summer I didn’t have the education courses, so I was on an “emergency certificate,” it was called. I went back to graduate school and took a couple of courses in education and said, “I don’t think this is going to work out for me.” I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years, and I was really casting about, thinking, “What am I going to do?” My husband’s view of it was, “Stay home. We have children, we’ll have more children, you’ll love this.” And I was very restless about it.”
Warren herself said she lacked the education or credentials to keep working the job.
Ironically, it has also come to light that the school board had extended her teaching assignment, but she said that at the time she did not know that.
Now, all of this has come to light and it appears that Warren has been claiming to be a victim when the facts say differently.
In a tv interview this week, she stood by her claims saying:
“All I know is I was 22 years old, I was 6 months pregnant, and the job that I had been promised for the next year was going to someone else. The principal said they were going to hire someone else for my job.”
Colleagues say that her claim is plausible because at the time the rule about not being able to work while pregnant was not written anywhere but practiced.
This alleged episode preceded passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 which prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.
Warren could have been fired for being pregnant, but her own words when not running for office suggests that that is not what happened. It sounds like she wanted to score points with a victim story of her own.
Warren likes to fashion herself as a champion for the underdog. She has a history of claiming minority status when she’s not for professional gain and educational opportunities. Lying about your heritage to get into special meetings and events for minorities is odious. Lying again to make yourself seem sympathetic is stooping to a new low.
Each year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives thousands of pregnancy discrimination claims. I can only imagine how many more episodes occur than are not reported and how much more widespread the practice was when Warren was a young teacher.
It’s important that women who feel aggrieved by their employer can seek justice.
False claims of discrimination, though, are damaging to employers and to those who truly suffer discrimination. It increasingly becomes hard to believe when someone does come forward who truly is a victim.