Protecting Pregnant Women in the Workplace

February 26, 2013

Download the ACLU of Maryland testimony on SB 784

 

ADVISORY FOR

February 26, 2013

 

CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, Communications Director, 410-889-8555; media@aclu-md.org 

Sara Love, Public Policy Director, 703-963-2710; love@aclu-md.org 

 

ANNAPOLIS - On February 26, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland will testify to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of Senate Bill 784, which will protect pregnant workers from discrimination. While there are laws against discrimination, there is a gap when it comes to pregnant workers.

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to workers whose temporary physical restrictions are similar to those experienced by many pregnant women. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires employers to treat pregnant workers as well as they are required to treat similarly physically limited workers under the ADA. However, employers have been ingenious about devising ways to distinguish the accommodations they offer to pregnant workers versus non-pregnant workers.  Federal courts, including the 4th Circuit, have not upheld pregnant women's equal treatment.

 

A pressing problem concerns pregnant workers who are forced into unpaid leave or fired when their employers refuse to make even modest, temporary modifications to physical job requirements that they make for similarly-restricted workers. While the current law may have contemplated including physical restrictions caused by pregnancy, the current statute and case law are unclear. SB 784 clarifies and explains employers' obligations to provide equal treatment to pregnant workers as they extend to any other temporarily physically-limited workers.

 

Statement of Joanna Diamond, Public Policy Associate, ACLU of Maryland: "This legislation only makes minor changes to existing law, yet will mean vast improvements in the lives of women and their families. Pregnant women should not have to jump through unnecessary hoops in order to be treated fairly in the workplace." 

 

WHAT: Hearing on SB 784 - Employment Discrimination - Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities Due to Pregnancy. 

 

WHO:  Joanna Diamond, Public Policy Associate, ACLU of Maryland. Diamond will be available for media interviews.

 

WHEN: Tuesday, February 26, 2013; hearing begins at 1 PM. 

 

WHERE: Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD.

 

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