U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today introduced legislation to protect the rights of pregnant women in the workplace. Their Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would give the same protections extended to those with disabilities to pregnant workers.
"Pregnant workers face discrimination in the workplace every day, which is an inexcusable detriment to women and working families in Pennsylvania and across the country," said Senator Casey. "This legislation will finally extend fairness to pregnant women so that they can continue to contribute to a productive economy while progressing through pregnancy in good health."
"As more and more women are working longer into their pregnancies, they deserve reasonable accommodations to maintain their safety and health," Senator Shaheen said. "Providing such assistance is a win for both employers and employees, as women are able to work longer and more productively at their jobs while also providing for their families and helping strengthen our economy."
U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) were original cosponsors of the bill.
The bill, modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, would prevent employers from forcing pregnant women out of the workplace by placing them on unpaid leave, firing them, or forcing them to quit when they are denied the accommodations they need to continue working safely.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would also help ensure that employers provide job modifications when it would allow a woman to continue working during pregnancy.
Nationally, 62 percent of women who gave birth in 2010 held jobs outside of the home.