Pregnant and jobless: A contextualizing analysis of pregnancy dismissal in Israeli labour court rulings

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Discrimination against pregnant employees is widespread despite labour laws aimed at protecting them. Pertaining to recently emerging research on pregnancy in the workplace, including pregnancy discrimination, this study considered the gravest manifestation of direct discrimination, and one that has been neglected to date: dismissal during pregnancy. Inspired by John's contextual theory, we sought to identify the socio-economic profile of dismissed pregnant employees, illustrating their uneven distribution across the labour market. This overlooked actuality of pregnancy dismissal was studied in Israel, an environment where labour laws extensively protect pregnant employees. We focused on nearly two decades (2004–2020) of cases litigated in Israeli labour courts. This study adds to the research on pregnancy in the workplace with a new perspective that not only illuminates a frequent yet hardly addressed reality but also reveals its social variability, deconstructing the generalized vulnerability that pregnancy often connotes for women employees. Finally, directions for future research and implications for the labour market, legislators and policymakers are put forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-689
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Industrial Relations
Issue number5
StatePublished - 18 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA) 2022 SAGE Publications Ltd, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC.


  • Dismissal
  • contextual theory
  • court ruling
  • labour law
  • pregnant employee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Industrial relations


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