Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Introduced

This week Congress took up legislation that, for once, is designed to actually benefit women.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act seeks to protect pregnant women from common workplace discrimination and to “ensure that pregnant women are not forced out of jobs unnecessarily or denied reasonable modifications that would allow them to continue working.”

Judith Lichtman, Senior Advisor, National Partnership for Women & Families released the following statement in response to the bill.

It is absolutely unacceptable that nearly 35 years after pregnancy discrimination was outlawed in this country, women are still fired, forced out of their jobs, and denied employment and promotion opportunities because they become pregnant. It is a shame and a blot on our nation’s commitment to equal opportunity that pregnancy discrimination claims continue to rise. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is balanced, reasonable and badly needed legislation that would help to stem this tide of discrimination, which costs women and their families terribly.

Women are nearly half of the workforce in the United States, and their income is increasingly important to their families and our economy. Pregnant women throughout the country work hard to make ends meet, but too often, they are forced out of their jobs or denied minor job modifications that would allow them to continue providing for their families while protecting their health and the health of their babies.

In a country that values family and fairness, having a baby should not mean losing a job and jeopardizing family financial stability. Pregnant workers should be treated the same as other workers who benefit from vital workplace protections, and that’s exactly what the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would help ensure. By putting in place the same workplace protections for women with pregnancy-related limitations as the protections already in place for workers with similar limitations, it will prevent employers from forcing pregnant women out of their jobs, help ensure employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women who want to continue working, and promote the kind of equality pregnant workers have long needed and deserved.

The protections under the bill are modeled after the Americans With Disabilities Act and are necessary because, as a temporary condition, pregnancy is not covered under the ADA or other civil rights bills that target specific, on-the-job discrimination.

Lichtman was clear what this bill means for women across the country.  “With this bill, Representatives Nadler (D – N.Y.), Maloney (D – N.Y.), Speier (D – Calif.) and Davis (D – Calif.) have pointed the way to a solution to a very serious problem facing women and families in this country. We thank them for championing this issue and call on all members of Congress to prioritize equality for pregnant workers by passing this bill.”

Finally Congress is taking a step in the right direction in trying to help keep women in the workplace rather than force them out.

Related Stories:

Pregnancy Discrimination Claims On The Rise

Photo from janineomg via flickr.

25 comments

Christine Stewart

I do have some sympathy for an employer that hires a woman who knows she is pregnant but doesn't let anyone know until after she is hired. I think if the woman is already working at the company and then becomes pregnant, the company should make accomodations for her.

Josha N.
Josha N.4 years ago

"Women are nearly half of the workforce in the United States, and their income is increasingly important to their families and our economy." Wow. Simply stated why all these ridiculous bills the Party of NO are writing and pushing are discriminating and above all STUPID because they cost the economy, not just women.

Kelly R.
Kelly Rogers4 years ago

Unfortunately we will have to wait until Obama is re-elected before something will change

Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey4 years ago

It'll never pass. The Repiglicans will never vote for anything that benefits women. And after all, denying pregnant women their rights frees up jobs for the really important people: white men.

Phyllis Smith
Phyllis Smith4 years ago

It is way past time that a bill lie this comes up! With political atmosphere like we have now,thanks to the GOP,it will take some doing! Women ae really pissed off right now,with good reason,I might add. We're mad as hell,and we're not gonna take it anymore!r That really rings true now!

John Mansky
John Mansky4 years ago

"No Comment"...

Linda T.
Linda T.4 years ago

My daughter in-law lost her job when she went out of work to deliver my grandson. Right to work state B.S. We badly need this law. Men you best support the women in your life because they help support you. This law effects all families. Families depend on both incomes to make it in this individualist world the Republicans have created.

Bill Eagle
Bill Eagle4 years ago

If something will help most of the common people, than I doubt if the Republicans will support it.

Virginia B.
Virginia B.4 years ago

I'll bet there are countless women like me who worked up until 4 (yes four!) days before giving birth (full term!), and was back at work six weeks later. And that job required me to drag myself up 3 storeys of a 19th century building, w/o elevators and with grand, lengthy staircases. I also managed to continue breast-feeding my baby, using my lunch breaks, up until she was 9 months old.
This only partial bragging: my purpose is to emphasize that a majority of working mothers do their best to juggle both motherhood and their baby's health and welfare.

Isabel Ramirez
Isabel Ramirez4 years ago

Good news:)