Shaheen Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Pregnant Workers Against Workplace Discrimination

April 30, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) helped introduce bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to protect pregnant workers from workplace discrimination. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which is closely modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow pregnant workers to continue working safely. It will ensure that employers with 15 or more employees provide reasonable accommodations that are often low-cost or no cost, unless it would pose an undue hardship to the employer. The bill includes protections not already codified in the ADA or the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).

“Securing equality in the workplace and empowering working families demands meaningful policy change to meet the standards American workers deserve. That’s why I’m glad to join Senator Casey on this legislation to support expectant mothers and their families,” said Shaheen. “The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a critical step forward to end pregnancy discrimination and provide protections for expectant mothers in accessing accommodations at work without fear of retaliation, bias or being unfairly forced out of their jobs. I appreciate the bipartisan determination to move this bill forward and will continue to push lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort.”

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would allow pregnant workers to continue working by ensuring they can have accommodations such as additional bathroom breaks, light duty or a stool to sit on if a worker stands all day. It would prevent them from being forced out on leave or out of their jobs. The bill also prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations due to childbirth or related medical conditions.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is supported by A Better Balance; American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); American Association of University Women (AAUW); American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs; California Women’s Law Center; Equal Rights Advocates; Hadassah; H.R. Policy Association; International Franchise Association; The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center; Legal Momentum; Main Street Alliance; March of Dimes; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); National Retail Federation; National Organization for Women; National Partnership for Women & Families; National WIC Association; National Women’s Law Center; Physicians for Reproductive Health; Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Retail Industry Leaders Association; Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); UnidosUS; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce; and Zero to Three.

Read more about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act here.

Shaheen is a leader in the fight against gender-based work discrimination. Shaheen has repeatedly supported and fought for the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would help eliminate the gender wage gap and guarantee that women can challenge pay discrimination and hold employers accountable. The bill would end the practice of pay secrecy and strengthen the available remedies for wronged employees.

###