On September 17, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act with bipartisan support. The bill calls for the provision of reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers when they need them without experiencing discrimination or retaliation from their employer. Jocelyn Frye, a senior fellow with the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response to today’s vote:
“For too long, workers have had to navigate uneven—and at times nonexistent—protections in the workplace when requesting basic accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The refusal to grant reasonable requests that include the ability to take water or bathroom breaks unfairly and unnecessarily penalizes pregnant workers, jeopardizing both their health and their economic well-being. This is especially dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic for workers who are pregnant and still must go into a physical workplace. Black women, in particular, are disproportionately front-line workers, yet face staggeringly high rates of maternal mortality in the United States.”
The bipartisan passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in the House is a significant step forward to extend protections for pregnant workers who need accommodations. Representatives on both sides of the aisle recognize that workers should not have to choose between their own health and safety during pregnancy and keeping their job. The next step is for the Senate to pass the bill so that we ensure the health and economic security of pregnant workers and create more equitable workplaces where all workers are valued.
We at Burnham Douglass believe that pregnancy is meant to be an exciting, happy time and the workplace should provide reasonable accommodations to women without jeopardizing their safety or their job. If you have experienced discrimination or retaliaition in the workplace, call us to help provide a remedy.