Protect The Rights Of Pregnant Workers
Today, too many pregnant workers are pushed out of their jobs because employers refuse to provide temporary accommodations that would allow them to remain productive employees and maintain a healthy pregnancy. These accommodations can be as minimal as providing a stool to sit on, permission to carry a bottle of water, or a break from lifting heavy boxes.
Even in 2019, employers can fire pregnant workers or force them to quit or take leave. This puts many pregnant workers in a dangerous position: Choose between your livelihood and a healthy pregnancy.
Congress must pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to allow people to remain productive members of the workplace and to provide for their families just like any other worker. This bill would require that employers make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy that don’t place an undue burden on the business. It would also prohibit employers from forcing pregnant workers to take unpaid leave, denying job opportunities because of pregnancy, and retaliating against anyone who opposes such discriminatory practices.
Many working people are the sole breadwinners in the family, and if they become pregnant, they could lose their income and health care benefits when they need it most. If they continue to work throughout their pregnancy, then they can risk the pregnancy itself.
That’s what happened to an airline ticket agent in Louisiana. Her employer refused to accommodate her doctor’s recommendation not to lift heavy items and threatened her with forced, unpaid leave. Not having an income wasn’t an option, so she remained on the job, lifting heavy bags and staying on her feet 10 to 12 hours per day. She ended up going into labor prematurely and her child suffered numerous health complications.
Providing accommodations for pregnant workers is in the best interests of employers, too. It will boost productivity, retention, and morale – plus it will decrease retraining costs and the health care costs associated with pregnancy complications.
The case is clear: Congress must pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to protect the rights and livelihoods of pregnant workers and ensure a truly equal workplace. Add your name now.