The following is a press release from Congressman Jerrold Nadler:
Representatives Jerrold Nadler, NYC and Queens-based Carolyn Maloney, California-based Jackie Speier and Susan Davis, joined by the leaders of women’s advocacy organizations, unions, and business groups from across the nation, introduced critical new legislation: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The bill is meant to ensure that pregnant women are not forced out of jobs unnecessarily or denied reasonable job modifications that would allow them to continue working.
Currently, pregnant working women around the country are being denied simple adjustments permission – to use a stool while working a cash register, or to carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated, or temporary reassignment to lighter duty tasks – that would keep them working and supporting their families while maintaining healthy pregnancies. The legislation will close legal loopholes and ensure that pregnant women are treated fairly on the job. At press time, the bill had 63 original cosponsors.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will accomplish this by requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and preventing employers from forcing women out on leave when another reasonable accommodation would allow them to continue working. The bill also bars employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
In recent and startling examples, 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; and 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.
For the well-being of pregnant workers, and for the sake of the economic stability of American families, our laws must be updated and clarified.
Read the rest of the bill here.