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Leah Rocketto

Should The Senate Pass The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?

PUBLISHED ON 09/24/2012

A new bill could mean big change for moms-to-be.

On Friday,  Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to the Senate floor. The bill, which was originally introduced in May, would "require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers," such as letting them sit when needed, drink water on the job and not require them to do heavy lifting. The bill also would prevent employers from "forcing women out on leave when another reasonable accommodation would allow them to continue working."

Seems like common courtesy, right? Well, it doesn't automatically work this way for some pregnant women. ThinkProgress cites several instances where women were fired due to pregnancy-related issues. Some examples include a retail worker in Salina, Kansas being fired because she needed to carry a water bottle to stay hydrated; a nursing home worker who needed help with some physically strenuous aspects of her job; and a delivery truck driver who was forced out on unpaid leave because she had a lifting restriction and was denied light duty.

Under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, women in these situations would have rights to have the rules modified to help them have healthy pregnancies. This bill would work in conjunction with  Title VII, which protects a woman from being fired because she is pregnant, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, which establishes minimum paid maternity leave.

What do you think of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?  Do you think we need a bill like this?