Manhattan members of Congress Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would require employers to make accommodations for pregnant women and ban employers from denying women employment due to pregnancy.
“When American families are struggling to make ends meet, we must do everything we can to keep people in their jobs. This is especially true for pregnant women who are about to have another mouth to feed,” Mr. Nadler said. “Ensuring that a woman who needs minor and reasonable job adjustments to maintain a healthy pregnancy gets that accommodation should be central to our society’s support for strong and stable families. “
The bill, called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, would its authors say, ensure that pregnant women are not forced out of jobs unnecessarily or denied reasonable job modifications that would allow them to continue working. Mr. Nadler and Ms. Maloney say that now women are denied simple adjustments like the permission to use a stool when working at a cash register or to carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated that would allow them to continue to work during the later stages of pregnancy.
“Women need to work during pregnancy and must not be penalized in the workplace for choosing to have a child,” Ms Maloney said. “The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will give women the tools they need to fight ‘maternal profiling’ on the job.”
- The lawmakers cited the example of several women who have been fired essentially for being pregnant, including Heather Wiseman, a retail worker in Salina, Kansas, was fired because she needed to carry a water bottle to stay hydrated and prevent bladder infections;
- Victoria Serednyj, an activity director at a nursing home in Valparaiso, Indiana, was terminated because she required help with some physically strenuous aspects of her job to prevent having another miscarriage;
- Peggy Young, a delivery truck driver in Landover, Maryland, was forced out on unpaid leave because she had a lifting restriction and was denied light duty.
The bill has 63 co-sponsors and the support of a host of advocacy groups, including the AFL-CIO, the ACLU and NOW. Prospects for passage in the GOP dominated House remain unclear.
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