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Pregnant workers to gain protections under House-passed bill

Photo credit: Getty
By AFSCME Staff ·

Pregnant women face persistent discrimination and unsafe conditions at many workplaces. This hurts their careers and affects their health and the health of their children.

To fix these problems, the House of Representatives voted 315-101 today to approve a bill that would provide women with on-the-job protections and rights, and “address longstanding health and economic injustices that disproportionately hurt women well into parenthood,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement.

“No one should have to choose between their financial security, their own safety and the life of their children,” Saunders said. “We applaud the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation to protect the health and safety of pregnant workers, and we urge the Senate to follow suit.”

To ban gender discrimination in the workplace, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:

AFSCME’s letter to Congress expressing support for this bill can be found here.

The measure’s chief sponsor, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, said in a speech on the House floor that employers often are unwilling to provide basic accommodations – like providing a stool so a pregnant worker could sit while doing her job.

“Given the low cost of these accommodations, we must ask why so many employers are unwilling to provide them and keep their pregnant workers employed. The answer, unfortunately, is that for many employers a pregnant employee embodies negative gender stereotypes regarding motherhood and pregnancy,” Nadler said. “Society still expects women to conform to stereotypical notions that to be a good parent you must choose between pregnancy and work.”

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