Dear Employers of Pregnant Artists,
As the founder of Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts, my letters to institutions now become public and specific. To begin, an open letter regarding the decision of the Staatsober Hamburger to terminate a contract with Julie Fuchs due to pregnancy.
Julie Fuchs’ incredibly gracious and devastating announcement reached us from multiple sources. PAAL has formed as an advocacy organization for parent artists in the United States, and one of our primary missions is pregnant parents right to work. We are not called upon by Ms. Fuchs in any official capacity, however, we comment on this now public nature of reason to fire because it is an experience all too common for pregnant artists and compels us to publish our stand for parents rights publicly on behalf of those stories that do not get told and to prevent more occurrences of pregnancy discrimination in the future as much as possible.
At any point in pregnancy, from planning to late term, all employers, even artistic ones curating live performances, have an obligation to do extensive provision for pregnant hires by law, and firing due to pregnancy, in the United States at least, is never legal. Especially at four months pregnant, “artistic integrity” can be preserved through creative problem solving that sustains for an extended period of the pregnancy.
For performers, the image loophole is used to discriminate against pregnant artists and reveals both a bias and laziness on the part of hiring institutions.
This abuse of this loophole and punishment for pregnancy that profoundly affects gender equity in the performing arts should in no way be allowed to continue. We are here to defend pregnant parents’ rights to perform – to work in all aspects of creating art, including administration and off-stage – and advocate publicly on their behalf. We have formed to advocate for others in order to prevent the risk to their own employment.
For institutions who care enough to prevent these discriminating practices in their own organizations, we also create resources to educate employers, improve work culture, and rectify discriminating behavior.
PAAL has planned forums and panels this summer throughout the country. Contact us if you would like to attend or be involved.
For parent artists:
You deserve the right to be a parent and perform. To be a parent and run crew. To be a parent and administrate. Solutions exist. Will these institutions care enough to implement these inclusive, creative solutions is the only remaining question.