Women should be guaranteed at least 12 weeks' (US Dept. of Labor) maternity leave upon having a baby, but what about paternity leave? Shouldn't a new dad be given as much time off to help care for his newborn baby? Not all employers value giving long paternity leave. Women denied a full maternity leave should stick up for their rights since it's against the law not to allow adequate leave.
Some women work up to when their baby is born. Though it can be harder to work during pregnancy, many women want to be treated equally rather than sent home early or have some of their tasks given to other "better-abled" individuals. One mom related the following experience:
"I worked as a waitress up until the night before I delivered my daughter. I had to fight my employers because they kept trying to cut my hours, even though that's illegal and my doctor approved me to continue working 40-hour weeks. I had to work three times as hard as everyone else because they kept looking for reasons to make me go on leave." --Dayle Fraschilla
Traditionally, labor-intensive jobs have been assigned to men, but now a lot of women are choosing fields that involve lifting heavy loads. A capable female should be valued as much as her male counterpart, but many employers assume a male would do a better job. One young woman known by this writer used to work at a retail store; when shipments would show up they would bring a few employees back to help, usually men. Although some women did help and others preferred not to help, all of them should be given the same opportunities.
This issue can go both ways (male or female victims) and comes into play when an employer chooses to hire one employee over another because of his or her gender or physical attributes. Flirting or relationships among coworkers is discouraged because it can too easily lead to inappropriate situations. This behavior is always unacceptable in the workplace and is against the law, but it still exists on many levels.