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Are California tech companies telling female employees to delay motherhood?

Many workers in the Los Angeles area take their jobs and careers seriously. No job, however, is more important than being a parent. For women, much has been written about the difficulties of balancing having a career and raising children. As more U.S. women invest in higher degrees and pursue lucrative careers, a growing number are delaying becoming mothers in favor of getting ahead in their careers. But, it this really a choice?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 "forbids discrimination based on pregnancy" in relation to "hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions and layoffs." Despite the existence of laws aimed to protect pregnant women from suffering workplace discrimination, many working women believe that getting pregnant and having a child will negatively impact their chances of having a successful career. Recent moves by two major California employers may help serve to reinforce this belief among women working in the heavily male-dominated technology field. 

Facebook recently began covering the costs for female employees associated with freezing eggs and Apple plans to start covering these costs in January 2015. Both companies admit they decided to cover the costly procedure and storage fees in an attempt to attract and appeal to skilled female employees. However, the move has raised red flags among some women and legal experts who worry the companies' decisions to cover egg freezing could potentially send the wrong message to working women and even result in pregnant women and working moms suffering workplace discrimination.

As a growing number of women devote their child-bearing years to building careers, many feel forced to choose between climbing the corporate ladder or becoming a mom. While the decision to cover egg freezing may help alleviate the pressure some female employees feel to choose between career and motherhood, it also serves as a not-so-subtle signal to pregnant women and working moms that they made the wrong choice when they decided to put motherhood ahead of their career.


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