In Pennsylvania workplaces, there has been far too many scenarios where pregnant women are not afforded the necessary accommodations to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Across the country, state governments have approved legislation to protect pregnant workers; this action caused a decrease in pregnancy discrimination cases. However, in Pennsylvania, where there is no such legislation, there has been an increase in several cases where pregnant women, who are more vulnerable and need additional health accommodations, lose hours or are being forced into quitting.
Pregnancy Discrimination on the Rise in Pennsylvania
More than half of the United States has recently passed laws that protect pregnant women and provide guidelines to employers to provide the necessary accommodations that a woman needs while expecting. The reasonable accommodations needed to support pregnant workers include light duty and no heavy lifting, accessible water, and rest or bathroom breaks. These accommodations help provide pregnant women the necessary amount of care for a healthy pregnancy, while still protecting her right to work.
Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination in Pennsylvania has increased to 30 percent in the past five years because of lack of a proper protection law. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who accounts for over 1,600 claims, pregnancy discrimination claims are currently at a 10-year high.
The Need to Care for Pregnant Workers
Job loss is especially problematic for pregnant women, who depend on the income and health care coverage that their job provides. The loss of employment not only threatens a woman’s career, income, and livelihood, but it also threatens the health of the baby. The added stress, lack of financial support, and even the fear of wrongful termination can have adverse health effects on the mother and child. Pregnancy discrimination mostly affects minority women as well due to lower income or hard labor jobs. They may lack the means to sue their former employer, which often leads to not filing any complaints.
The lack of proper accommodations can lead to birth complications, premature births, or miscarriages. Research has shown that heavy lifting, long work hours, and poor rest for the mother can have unhealthy consequences in their pregnancy. The city of Philadelphia has made it illegal to not provide reasonable accommodations in 2014, but no official law has been passed by the state itself. A federal law was passed in the 1970s that protected pregnant women if they could provide evidence that they lacked the same accommodations provided to non-pregnant co-workers. The House of Representatives is currently working to pass a bill that will further increase the protections of pregnant women in the workplace. It has yet to be seen by Congress and the process could take months or even years to pass the bill.
Delaware County Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Protect Women in the Workplace
If you are pregnant and were subjected to discrimination, call the Delaware County employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Our experienced lawyers will fight for your rights and justice. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve the communities of Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.