As Supreme Court Hears Pregnancy Discrimination Case, Reed Urges Congress to Protect Expecting Mothers
Reed-backed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would help ensure reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant workers
WASHINGTON, DC – With the U.S. Supreme Court today hearing oral arguments in a pregnancy discrimination case of Peggy Young v. UPS, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is calling on Congress to better protect working pregnant women across the United States. Today, the Court heard the case of Peggy Young, a United Parcel Service (UPS) package driver who was forced off the job while she was pregnant, when she requested a temporary light-duty position. The case could determine whether and when the landmark Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for a pregnant worker out of a medical need.
Senator Reed is a cosponsor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 942), which would strengthen the rights of pregnant workers to request accommodations during their pregnancy without fear of retribution. The bill’s goal is to ensure employers make reasonable accommodations to help women stay on the job if they choose to work while pregnant.
“Regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision, most Americans agree that a woman shouldn’t have to choose between her job and her pregnancy. Congress should work together and pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to sensibly update the law and ensure all women have the opportunity to work during pregnancy,” said Reed. “Adopting these types of reasonable accommodations to enable pregnant women to stay on the job makes good sense for businesses, families, and our economy. Our nation’s economic health and physical health are strengthened by smart, family-friendly policies that meet the needs of working mothers.”
More than 40 percent of mothers are now the sole or primary source of income for the household, according to a June 2014 report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would secure the right of a pregnant worker to ask for workplace accommodations without fear of retribution.
Currently, pregnant working women around the country are often 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.
The bill would also bar employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
“This bill would ensure pregnant workers have on-the-job protections. I hope Congress can quickly get it passed and help more working moms and moms-to-be,” concluded Reed.
President Obama has endorsed the bill and indicated that if Congress passes the legislation he would sign it into law.