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COSWA CORNER

Katherine A. Spielmann



Regional Women's Receptions -- Paula Bienenfeld (COSWA) and Sheli Smith (SHA Women's Caucus) sponsored a speaker and a cash bar at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology in Washington, D.C. The reception was attended by 50 people, and Amy Golin, a lawyer and prominent author of the Glass Ceiling Report for the Department of Labor, was the speaker. The Glass Ceiling Commission was created to investigate the "glass ceiling" and ways of breaking or overcoming it. While the commission investigated the status of women and minorities employed in the private sector, results are applicable in other contexts (federal, academic). The study identified both the existence of numerous ceilings facing women and minorities climbing the corporate ladder, and a phenomenon called the "sticky floor," where women and minorities remain in lower level positions. Publications of the commission, including its reports, can be ordered from U.S. Department of Labor, Glass Ceiling Commission, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, fax (202) 219-2313. The first 100 pages are free, and each additional page is fifteen cents.

Child Care at the SAA Annual Meetings -- KiddieCorps, a service that employs licensed, bonded, and trained child-care people, will again provide child-care at the Annual Meeting. See page 30 of the preliminary program for registration information.

Women's Reception -- The annual Women in Archaeology Cash Bar Reception at the SAA meeting will be held from 8:30-10:30 p.m., Friday, May 5. The reception provides an informal opportunity for women to share news and information about their career situations, research, etc.

Pregnancy Discrimination -- In our continuing efforts to address women's rights in the workplace, we provide this information regarding pregnancy discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is covered under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (29 CFR 1604.10), which is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The amendment states that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII. This amendment covers hiring, pregnancy, and maternity leave. It states that an employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy-related condition as long as she is able to perform the major functions of the job. The act also states that an employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee's ability to work. If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee, for example by providing modified tasks, alternative assignments, disability leave, or leave without pay. The act also states that employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence the same length of time jobs are held open for employees on sick or disability leave. Finally, while leave for child-care purposes is not covered by this act, Title VII requires that leave for child-care be granted on the same basis as leave granted to employees for other non-medical reasons, such as personal travel or education.

This information is available from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you would like more information on this aspect of working rights, or believe you have been discriminated against because of a pregnancy, you can call (800) 669-EEOC.

Katherine A. Spielmann is at Arizona State University.


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