Casey, Mayor Bracey, York Advocates Push for Passage of Legislation that Would Combat Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers

Casey Bill, Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Would Bolster Protections for Pregnant Workers Seeking Reasonable Accommodations / York Advocate from YWCA Discussed Challenges Region’s Pregnant Workers Face / Casey Recently Led Over 120 Members of Congress in Filing Amicus Brief to Supreme Court in Favor of Pregnant Worker Seeking Justice

Casey, Mayor Bracey, York Advocates Push for Passage of Legislation that Would Combat Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers

York, PA- As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a landmark pregnancy discrimination case, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), joined by Mayor Kim Bracey and York advocates, pushed for passage of legislation that would address discrimination against pregnant workers. Casey’s bill, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, would bolster protections for pregnant workers by allowing them to seek reasonable accommodations so they can continue working during pregnancy. Casey was joined by Edquina Washington from York’s YWCA, who discussed the challenges the region’s pregnant workers face. Recently Casey led over 120 members of Congress in filing an amicus curae brief in the Supreme Court case of Young v. UPS, in which Peggy Young is seeking justice for discrimination that is alleged to have occurred while she worked during her pregnancy.

“Women make up nearly half of the work force, and in Pennsylvania, approximately 96,000 women in the work force give birth each year,” said Senator Casey. “Too many women still face discrimination in the workplace during pregnancy as some employers continue to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations, which is why I have introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. My legislation would prevent employers from forcing these pregnant women out of the workplace, instead providing those accommodations that will allow women to keep working safely through their pregnancies.”

Young v. UPS

According to Ms. Young’s case, accommodations were routinely given to workers with temporary injuries, but when Peggy Young asked for an accommodation to comply with her doctor’s recommendation that she not lift boxes over 20 pounds, her employer denied the request – because she was pregnant. Ms. Young challenged her employer in court alleging that her employer violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act by not allowing her to work with a reasonable accommodation through her pregnancy.

Unfortunately, Peggy Young lost her case in the lower courts, with the 4th Circuit finding that UPS’s policy of accommodating workers with disabilities, workers injured on the job, and workers who had lost their commercial driver’s licenses, was a pregnancy-blind rule that did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

The PWFA would secure the right of a pregnant worker to ask for a reasonable accommodation in the workplace without fear of retribution. Today, women make up nearly half of the labor force, and three-quarters of women entering the workforce will be pregnant and employed at some point in their careers. In Pennsylvania, approximately 96,000 women in the work force give birth each year, representing 65 percent of all births in the state.

Currently, pregnant working women around the country are being 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.

Some states have passed laws like the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to ensure that pregnant workers have on-the-job protections, but millions of women are vulnerable to this type of workplace discrimination.

Statistics on Pregnant Workers

Percentage of workers who give birth per year

State

As a share of employed women of childbearing age

As a share of all employed people

United States

4.7%

1.6%

2009-2011 averages based on data from the American Community Survey

Women 16 to 50 years old who gave birth in a 12-month period and were in the labor force

State

Total number of women who gave birth in the past 12 months

Total number of women who gave birth in the past 12 months who were in the labor force

Percentage of pregnant women and new moms who were in the labor force

United States

4,216,387

2,600,379

62%

2011 data from the American Community Survey

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