Thursday, October 31st marked the 35-year anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
“Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII, which covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. Title VII also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. Women who are pregnant or affected by pregnancy-related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.”
However, despite this law, the unfair treatment of pregnant workers is still existent in America.
In 2011, the EEOC reports nearly 6,000 cases of pregnancy discrimination:
Often, pregnant women who are discriminated against feel pressure to leave their jobs in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Many pregnant women are not getting the accommodations they need in the workforce, especially with jobs that require physical activity such as heavy-lifting, standing for long periods of time, or other activities that can be dangerous or challenging for pregnant women.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a law recently passed in New York City, is fighting toward a more unambiguous and clear anti-discriminatory law for pregnant workers.
The law was drafted by a legal team dedicated to fighting for the rights of working American families called A Better Balance.
A Better Balance reports, “The New York City Council passed critically important legislation on September 24, 2013 to ensure that pregnant workers are not forced out of their jobs or denied reasonable job modifications that would allow them to continue working while maintaining healthy pregnancies.”
It is time for the rest of the nation to follow in New York City’s footsteps and pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to ensure the rights of pregnant workers.
National Women’s Law Center reports several cases of pregnancy discrimination and states, “The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), H.R. 1975 and S. 942, would let pregnant women continue to do their jobs and support their families by requiring employers to make the same sorts of accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions that they do for disabilities.”
On November 7th, over 100 organizations released an open letter to Congress asking for support of PWFA.
No woman should have to choose between her employment or her income and her right to a healthy pregnancy.
If you are interested in ensuring the rights of pregnant workers, click on the link below.