SureBaby Blog

New Legislation Helps Pregnant Women on the Job!

Posted by Alissa Robson

Call a pregnant woman disabled and you’re sure to get a few less-than-courteous reactions – but new legislation is looking at giving working expectant moms the same rights as disabled people on the job, which would certainly be easier to swallow.

While pregnancy is not technically a disability, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – scheduled for review before the House on Tuesday, would ensure that women are given access to “reasonable accommodation” in their jobs while pregnant. It would also ensure that employers are not able to use a pregnancy against an employee when it comes to job opportunities, forced leave or even forced accommodations.

The definition of “reasonable accommodation” is of course open to debate, but in general, it’s meant to cover small changes to a job that do not negatively impact an organization in any way, but allow for a pregnant woman to continue to fulfill her duties – reasonable accommodations may include more frequent access to water, snacks and washroom facilities, assistance in areas of the job that require climbing or lifting or even access to “light duty” roles and responsibilities that are often given to people with disabilities.

While it may seem that legislation in this area isn’t needed (many employers and fellow employees are very accommodating of an employee’s or coworker’s pregnancy, as it is), there have been cases reported that are enough to sound alarm bells – a Walmart employee fired for carrying a water bottle, a UPS worker forced to take unpaid leave rather than light duty and a nursing home director fired for asking for help with moving tables are just a few cases cited in a New York Times article about the legislation.

At SureBaby, we typically think that any law that provides clear-cut lines on a pregnant woman’s rights in her job is a good thing. But we want to know what you think of this new legislation.

Give us your thoughts, and share your stories of pregnancy on the job with us in the comments!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.