Discrimination is the last thing you should have to worry about when you’re pregnant, but even in 2019 pregnant workers are still being denied reasonable, medically-necessary accommodations at work (like extra water breaks or being able to sit down) because of loopholes in the 35 year old Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
Pregnancy discrimination is unacceptable and now we have a chance to help end it.
Last week, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives with BIPARTISAN support! Whoa, what? Yes, bipartisan support!
These days, it feels rare to get bipartisan agreement on something, so let’s make a lot of noise about this bill and work to get it across the finish line!
Here’s the scoop: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will require employers to make the same sort of accommodations for pregnant workers that are already made for employees with disabilities. These accommodations are simple things like being able to sit down or having a water bottle on shift. This is more than reasonable!
As you can imagine, pregnancy discrimination has dire consequences for a family’s economic security because it leaves pregnant workers without health insurance and a paycheck at the moment they need it most. Overrepresented in physically demanding jobs, women of color and immigrant women are especially impacted by employers refusing to accommodate pregnant workers with medical needs. Nobody should ever have to choose between their job and the health of their pregnancy, but too many workers still face this impossible choice today.
Nearly 85% of women will become mothers at some point in their working lives. By continuing to work, pregnant workers can generate critical income while gaining seniority on the job. But when pregnant workers are fired for requesting reasonable and medically-necessary accommodations, their family's economic security suffers and they struggle to re-enter a job market that is often biased against pregnant women and new mothers.
Tiffany, a MomsRising member from West Virginia, knows firsthand what a difference simple accommodations at work can make:
"I was a cashier for almost eight years when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. During my pregnancy, I was put on standing and lifting restrictions by my doctor because I was in danger of losing my baby. I was told by the fast food restaurant I worked at that I would have to take this time off and they could not accommodate me by providing me a chair to sit in while at work. Being out of work at that time was the worst possible situation for a first time mother and I was terrified. When I returned to work after having my baby, they cut my hours back to fifteen hours a week."
***Please also take a moment to forward this email to friends and family! Post the action link on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. The more of us who take action, the better chance we have of making pregnancy discrimination a thing of the past!
PS - Did you work while pregnant? Did you need any accommodations? Tell us about it here: