Haaland Calls on McConnell to Take Up the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

September 18, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), a Vice Chair of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus, is calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take up the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. With alarming numbers of discrimination and unjust treatment towards pregnant women in the workforce, Congresswoman Deb Haaland voted to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act yesterday. The bill aims to hold the private sector employers to the same standards already practiced within public sector jobs.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act and American Disabilities Act offer some protection to pregnant women. However, without a federal law that guarantees access to reasonable accommodations on the job, it creates the need for the Pregnant Workers' Fairness Act. 

 

"Although times have changed, mothers are still being forced out of their employment due to the absence of reasonable accommodations. I know first-hand the pressure of being that single source of income as a single mom and have seen how Black and Latina workers are overrepresented in low-wage, physically demanding jobs that need pregnancy accommodations," said Congresswoman Deb Haaland. "I'm proud that New Mexico is one of thirty states that have laws to protect pregnant workers’ access to reasonable accommodations. I urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to a vote so all moms across America have these protections."

Physicians recommend that pregnant workers avoid or limit workplace risks like exposure to certain toxic substances, heavy lifting, overnight work, extended hours, or prolonged periods of sitting or standing. The absence of policy specifically protecting pregnant workers has created an unacceptable rate of pregnancy discrimination on the job and caused 70 percent of Courts to have denied reasonable accommodation claims for pregnant workers. 

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act provides pregnant women with access to accommodations during their pregnancy. Specifically, the bill declares that it is an unlawful employment practice to:

  • Fail to make reasonable accommodations to known limitations of such job applicants or employees, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an entity's business operation.
  • Deny employment opportunities based on the need of the entity to make such reasonable accommodations to an applicant or employee.
  • Require such job applicants or employees to accept a compromise that they do not want, if such accommodation is unnecessary to perform the job.
  • Require such employees to take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to their known limitations.
  • Take adverse action in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment against an employee requesting or using such reasonable accommodations. 

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has broad support from over 250 worker advocates, civil rights groups, and the business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Full list of endorsing organizations is available here.