Target: Cathy McMorris Rogers, House of Representatives
Goal: Require employers to accommodate the needs of pregnant employees.
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, an employer is not allowed to take any adverse action against pregnant employees under law. This includes taking pregnant employees off of important projects or accounts because they think it is “more than the employee can handle,” refusing to hire someone because they are pregnant, or might be pregnant, and terminating employment due to pregnancy. Despite the protection provided under this law, pregnancy discrimination complaints have risen 35% over the past ten years. 75% of American women will be pregnant and working at some point in their lifetime, so it is important that something be done to provide more security and better working conditions for working moms-to-be.
Many pregnant women have reportedly been let go, not blatantly because they were pregnant, but because their employer was not accommodating to the temporary needs pregnancy brings, such as increased bathroom breaks, less time on their feet, or time off for doctors’ appointments or morning sickness. The law says that if a company accommodates other employees with temporary disabilities, then they must also accommodate the special needs of your pregnancy. However, many workplaces only accommodate injuries that were incurred on the job, leaving them unaccountable for pregnancy needs. This must be revised under the law to require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant women to successfully perform their jobs.
Recently Senators Bob Casey and Jeanne Shaheen reintroduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) which aims to establish a federal standard for workplace protection for pregnant women. This act is currently stalled in House and Senate committees. Contact your state representatives in addition to reminding Cathy McMorris Rogers, a member of the House of Representatives who is currently pregnant herself, of the troubles faced by other working pregnant women.
Dear Cathy McMorris Rogers,
Despite the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, thousands of women are still reporting workplace discrimination in pregnancy. Statistics show that workplace pregnancy discrimination complaints have risen by 35% over the past decade. This simply should not happen in today’s modern society where about 75% of American women will be pregnant and working at some point in their lives.
Many women report a lack of understanding and accommodation in the workplace when it comes to pregnancy concerns such as the need for increased bathroom breaks, a later start time due to morning sickness, days off for doctors’ appointments, or less time on their feet. Though many employers accommodate employees who have been injured on the job, they do not accommodate the needs associated with pregnancy. Pregnant women are perfectly capable of successfully completing their job duties, though they may need things like flexible hours or less time on their feet in order to do so.
Protect pregnant women from this type of workplace discrimination, giving them job security at a time when they rely on it most, by advocating for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) now under consideration by House and Senate committees. The PWFA could provide security and accommodations for pregnant women that would change the lives of thousands of American women for the better, saving such a joyful time in their life from workplace stress or job loss. Push the PWFA into law as soon as possible!
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Klaus Hoffmeier, Wikimedia