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April 3 2018

There's No Room for Pregnancy Discrimination on the Job

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

Pregnancy is full of joyous moments like baby announcements and baby showers. However, for some working women, it can be a scary time if their employer decides to fire them or chooses not to hire them. 

Pregnancy discrimination is illegal. Pregnant women on the job deserve the same treatment and accommodations as their coworkers and Congress is working to clarify the law to ensure that pregnant women have full protections in the workplace. 

U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (MI-07) and Kristi Noem (SD-AL) introduced the Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act

This bill modernizes the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which outlaws pregnancy-based discrimination in any aspect of employment, by clarifying that a pregnant worker in a similar ability or inability to perform a duty due to the pregnancy should be treated the same as a non-pregnant worker in terms of accommodation.

IWF proposed this clarification of the federal law on pregnancy discrimination in our 2015 Working for Women report.

A recent Supreme Court case makes this amendment timely though. As my colleague Carrie Lukas explained recently, the ruling in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc. failed to ensure that working women would be covered by provisions in The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

There is a competing bill, the Pregnant Workers' Fairness Act, though well-intentioned might make employers more hesitant to hire women of childbearing age in the first place.

Congresswoman Noem, who represents the state with the highest rates of working mothers in the nation, explains why the PDAA is a more common-sense approach:

"Expectant mothers ought to be given some level of flexibility during their pregnancy so they can continue working and supporting their families... our legislation takes a balanced approach, protecting mothers and strengthening families without imposing duplicative burdens on their employers.”

How is this a balanced approach? We sat down with Congressman Walberg to discuss the PDAA recently for our Working for Women podcast. Listen here:

 

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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