Fired For Carrying A Water Bottle? It Can Happen If You’re Pregnant

Lifting restrictions, more frequent rest and bathroom breaks, being able to carry a water bottle with you during your work day — these are common needs for pregnant women on the job and yet the kinds of things that can put those jobs in jeopardy. So while Republicans were busy killing a veterans jobs bill all to spite President Obama and to try and throw the election their way, women’s rights advocates in Congress introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The bill is designed to fill in the gaps with current pregnancy discrimination prohibitions. And with a record number of women, and pregnant women, in the workforce, we are well past due for these kinds of protections.

“It has been nearly 35 years since we banned pregnancy discrimination in this country. Yet pregnant women are still being fired, forced out of their jobs and denied employment and promotion opportunities – and it hurts them, their families and our economy” said Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families in a statement. “More than three in five pregnant women in the United States (62 percent) are in the labor force and their incomes are critical to their families’ economic security, especially when a new child is on the way. Yet, too often, pregnant women are forced out of their jobs or denied minor job modifications – even though employers routinely make similar modifications for male employees who have been injured, had heart attacks or are temporarily impaired. This is unfair and unacceptable.”

The bill, in its essence, simply equalizes the playing field for pregnant employees. “By ensuring the same workplace protections for women with pregnancy-related limitations as the protections already in place for workers with similar limitations, it would prevent employers from forcing pregnant women out of the workplace and help ensure that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women who want to continue working,” Ness explained.

Without those kinds of protections, women’s jobs are vulnerable. And when their jobs are vulnerable, so is the well-being of their families.

“Pregnant workers face discrimination in the workplace every day, which is an inexcusable detriment to women and working families in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Casey said in a statement. “This legislation will finally extend fairness to pregnant women so that they can continue to contribute to a productive economy while progressing through pregnancy in good health.”

The fate of the bill largely rests in the outcome of the November election. Republicans have made it clear their singular mission is to make it more difficult for women to stay in the workplace, so there’s little reason to believe they’d support a bill that would cut against that very mission. But if Democrats make advances this election, Republicans will be hard pressed to successfully block such a measure.

Related Stories:

Why We Need The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Pregnancy Discrimination Claims On The Rise

Teacher Fired From Catholic School For Using Artificial Insemination

Photo from Thinkstock.


Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago


Rin S.
Rin S5 years ago

Another reason why I will be devastated is Romney wins

Carmely Guizar
Carmely Guizar5 years ago

:O what=?????

Patricia Garcia Ces
Patricia Ces5 years ago


Stephanie F.
Stevie A5 years ago

@ Jean P. - Mother Jones (?) or the Nation came out with a funny cover listing all of the groups of people the "Tea Partiers" (my term) have managed to alienate before Romney even secured the nomination. And THEN came the comments about "if..really raped" "can,,..prevent pregnancy". See what James R. refers to.
I call the people "Tea Partiers" because I am assuming that they do not truly represent Republican values ( though I'd be hard put to say what they were...) You do know that the Republicans VETOED a bill they had collaborated on to help VETERANS? However if "real Republicans" are as unaware of these issues as you seem to be, then I guess my distinction is moot.

Heather M
Heather Marvin5 years ago

Give pregnant women a break they are carrying the next generation.

Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez5 years ago

So glad I work in a place that values families--I can take off to go to my kids' awards assemblies or programs--as well as makes accommodations for those who are sick. I guess I didn't realize how lucky I am! Thanks for the article.

Arild Warud
Arild G5 years ago

Stop disciminate women.

Carla van der Meer

Not only does discrimination against pregnant women continue in the workplace, but it still exists against mothers. Working in HR we were told to weed out moms. It is still generally moms who leave to fetch sick kids, attend appointments and the dozen other daily details of parenting. Until dads step up to the plate, we as women will continue to feel the sting of discriminatory hiring practices.

Nessie Benjamin
Nessie B5 years ago

Thank you ...