Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which is closely modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), would address legal ambiguities and help ensure that pregnant women are treated fairly on the job
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Dean Heller (R-NV) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would protect pregnant workers from workplace discrimination. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would address legal ambiguities and help ensure that pregnant women are treated fairly on the job. The legislation, which is closely modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), would require employers to make reasonable accommodations—such as a minor job modification—that would allow pregnant workers to continue working and prevent them from being forced out on leave or out of their jobs. The bill also prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Mike Coffman (R-CO).
“No expectant mother should have to choose between giving up her job or jeopardizing the health of her pregnancy,” said Senator Shaheen. “Congress must work together to safeguard the important role of women in our workforce and prevent employer discrimination. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that pregnant workers are afforded reasonable on-the-job accommodations and protected from unfair retaliation.”
“Women make up almost half the workforce, but all too often they’re forced to make an impossible choice: risk their own health and pregnancy to keep a job, or lose their income at the moment they can least afford it,” said Emily Martin, NWLC General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice. “Pregnant workers are ready, willing and able to work but they are often pushed out by employers who refuse to make even minor temporary changes to their jobs to accommodate pregnant workers’ medical needs. We applaud today’s bipartisan action and urge Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – because no woman should have to choose between her job and her pregnancy.”
Sixty-two percent of pregnant women and new moms are in the labor force, yet under current law, pregnant workers can be placed on unpaid leave or forced out of their jobs because of a pregnancy.
Shaheen and Casey first introduced this legislation in the 112th Congress. The legislation is supported by: A Better Balance, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, California Women’s Law Center, Equal Rights Advocates, Hadassah, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, Legal Momentum, Main Street Alliance, March of Dimes, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.